A strong 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck central Japan late Saturday, the US Geological Survey said, flattening houses, as media reported 15 people were briefly trapped under collapsed buildings.
The quake struck at 10:08 pm local time (1308 GMT) at a depth of 10
kilometres (six miles) at the epicentre, in the north of Nagano Prefecture,
northwest of Tokyo, according to USGS.
Television footage showed flattened wooden houses, a mudslide blocking a road and books fallen off shelves.
The Japan Meteorological Agency measured the quake at magnitude 6.8. “It’s quite a strong earthquake for an inland one,” an official at the Japanese agency told a midnight press conference.
“We are worried about the extent of damage to houses and buildings,” he said, adding that residents should also be on alert for possible landslides as mountainous areas were the hardest hit.
The quake toppled at least three houses in Hakuba Village, Nagano Prefecture, local police said, injuring one resident. No further details were immediately confirmed.
Public broadcaster NHK said 15 residents were temporarily trapped under the houses but all of them, including the injured person and a two-year-old toddler, were rescued.