6.3-magnitude earthquake hits Japan; Tokyo buildings sway

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Japan Wednesday. Few injuries were reported, and officials warned another earthquake could be imminent. Image courtesy of Japan Meteorological Agency

TAKAHAGI, Japan, Dec. 29 (UPI) — A 6.3-magnitude earthquake centered near Takahagi, Japan, caused few injuries but shook structures and caused buildings in nearby Tokyo to sway, officials said.

It struck Ibaraki prefecture on Japan’s eastern coast on Wednesday night and likely was an aftershock of a 9-magnitude earthquake in the area in 2011, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The temblor shattered windows at a school and two people sustained minor injuries. The prefecture is the site of two nuclear power plants; neither reported problems, regulators said. No tsunami warning was given, and a tsunami did not occur.

 Nearby areas reported readings of three and four on the Japanese earthquake intensity scale, whose maximum number is seven. It registered numbers between six and seven in Takahagi, a city of about 30,000. In central Tokyo, 90 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter, buildings swayed for several seconds.

Gen Aoki of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Earthquake and Tsunami Observation Division, said local residents should be prepared for the possibility of a similar earthquake within the next week.

An emergency headquarters was established in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s Tokyo office. Abe, who just returned from a trip to Hawaii, instructed ministers to determine the extent of the earthquake’s damage, the Japan Times reported Thursday.


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