Apr 14

Powerful 6.5-Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Japan, Killing at Least 9

Major Earthquake Hits Japan, Strongest Since 2011; At Least 10 Houses Collapse, Suga Urges “Calm”:

Just over 5 years since the massively destructive 2011 Japanese earthquake which unleashed a tsunami and led to the Fukushima disaster, moments ago NHK reported that Japan’s Kumamoto region had been hit with another quake which had a Shindo shaking intensity of 7 and registered a magnitude of apprxoimately 6.4. “There was a ka-boom and the whole house violently shook sideways,” Takahiko Morita, a resident in Mashiki, a town at the epicenter, told a telephone interview with NHK TV.

“Nuclear reactor fears after huge earthquake strikes Japan” — Plant operator “is further looking into any possible damage” — Quake measured “at highest possible level” on Japan’s intensity scale — Prime Minister: “We intend to do the utmost to grasp situation” — Official: “Extent of damage still unclear” (VIDEOS):

The Mirror, Apr 14, 2016 (emphasis added): Nuclear reactor fears after huge earthquake strikes Japan… Authorities raced to assess the damage to THREE nuclear power plants which sit just miles from the epicentre — A massive deadly earthquake that hit Japan left many fearing a Fukushima-like tragedy could happen after the epicentre rocked homes and building just miles from THREE nuclear reactors… experts immediately began checking the island’s nuclear reactors for any damage…

Kyodo, Apr 14, 2016: The quake at 9:26 p.m. registered a maximum 7 on the Japanese seismic scale in the town of Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said… no abnormalities have been detected at nuclear power plants in the area… An official from the weather agency warned that there may be aftershocks of around lower 6 on the Japanese scale in the coming week.

Japan Times, Apr 14, 2016: Strongest earthquake since 2011 strikes Kumamoto area… [it] registered the highest 7 on the Japanese earthquake intensity scale… A series of similarly shallow and frequent aftershocks followed, including one of… upper 6 on the Japanese seismic scale… Kyushu Electric Power Co. said it found no abnormalities in its Sendai nuclear plant… The operator said it is further looking into any possible damage… At a hastily arranged news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government was doing its utmost to get a full picture of the situation… Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said at a press conference that Self-Defense Forces airplanes and helicopters have been dispatched to the quake-hit area to ascertain the extent of damage…

AP, Apr 14, 2016: “The shaking was so violent I couldn’t stand still,” said Hironobu Kosaki, a Kumamoto Prefectural Police night-duty official… “Because of the night darkness, the extent of damage is still unclear,” [Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga] said… Suga said there no abnormalities at nearby nuclear facilities

Sky News, Apr 14, 2016: A fresh 6.5 magnitude earthquake has struck southern Japan – causing fires to spread and dozens of houses to collapse, trapping people underneath… One of the earthquakes registered at the highest possible level of Japan’s seven-scale system for measuring seismic intensity – and a quake of that size usually means it is “impossible to move at will” as people are “thrown by the shaking”… [USGS] has upgraded its damage assessment to red, which indicates extensive damage is probable and that the disaster is likely widespread.

CNN, Apr 14, 2016: [T]he threat of aftershocks is far from over… Gen Aoki, director of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s earthquake division, warned more aftershocks could occur over the next week. “This is an earthquake that is going to shake for a long time,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. That could mean many more building collapses… An estimated 750,000 people felt “violent to severe shaking” Thursday, Myers said… “When you have a shallow earthquake, such as this one is, you have the potential for more damage because the shaking is close to the surface,” John Bellini of the U.S. Geological Survey said.

USA Today, Apr 14, 2016: [T]he quake registered the highest level of 7 on the Japanese seismic scale, in the town of Mashiki. It was the first reported quake with an intensity level of 7 since the deadly March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan… None of the nuclear power plants in the affected area reported damage, according to a statement released by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office.

Asia Times, Apr 14, 2016: The strongest earthquake to strike Japan’s southern Kumamoto area since 2011 has leveled scores of houses… Japan’s nuclear regulator reported no problems at nearby power plants… “We intend to do the utmost to grasp the situation,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. “I’m now planning to hear what we have gathered on the situation.”

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