At least 45 people are injured and police fear that several people could be trapped inside collapsed buildings south of Japan. There has not been issued a tsunami warning.
Several buildings collapsed when a powerful earthquake of 6.4 magnitude struck the island of Kyushu, in southwestern Japan in the morning local time on Thursday.
Soon after came a powerful aftershock and a few hours later there were new reports of an equally powerful quake like the first one, also of 6.4 magnitude, reports Reuters.
The epicenter was in the city of Kumamoto, on 10 km depth, says Japan's Meteorological Institute, which also warns that there will be more aftershocks in the next few days.
- It shook so hard that I could not stand still, said police spokesman Hironobu Kosaki to the AP news agency. He says that they have received several reports of collapsed houses where there may be people inside.
In the town of Mashiki fires erupted many places after the quake.
Kasumi Nakamura, who works for the local government in the town of Nishihara says that the quake lasted over 30 seconds.
There are two nuclear power plants in the area, the Sendai- and the Genkai-plant on Kyushu. They are not affected by the quake, and the operation is proceeding as normal, reports the BBC.
The earthquake that shook Japan in March 2011 had a magnitude of 9. It caused a tsunami and more than 18,000 people died.
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