Strong earthquake strikes western Japan, injuring at least 14

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A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 has struck near the city of Kurayoshi in western Japan, injuring at least 14 people and causing some damage, officials say. No tsunami warning has been issued.

The earthquake, which struck at 2:07 p.m. local time on Friday, was about 8.5 kilometers (5.3 miles) south of the city of Kurayoshi, which is located in Tottori Prefecture. It struck on land and at a depth of just 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), making it a very shallow earthquake.

Japan’s Earthquake Early Warning System initially put the magnitude of the earthquake at 6.7, but the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) revised the magnitude down to 6.6. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), meanwhile, put the magnitude significantly lower, at 6.2.

“This earthquake poses no tsunami risk,” JMA said.

Tremors were felt across the western part of the island, with Tottori Prefecture and Okayama Prefecture reporting the strongest shaking, but there was no immediate indication that the earthquake had caused serious damage or fatalities.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that at least 10 people had suffered injuries in the city of Kurayoshi, where emergency services reported minor damage in a number of buildings, including City Hall and a hospital. In addition, at least 48,000 customers in Kurayoshi are without power.

Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) said that a woman had suffered burn injuries in Tottori City as a result of the earthquake, and a rescue helicopter had spotted a collapsed building in Yurihama. It was not immediately known whether anyone was injured in the collapse.

Elsewhere, at least two people were injured in the town of Hokuei and a man in his 50s suffered a head injury in the port city of Kure in Hiroshima Prefecture.

Japan sits on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin which is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.

In March 2011, an enormous 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northeastern Japan, generating a devastating tsunami that wiped out entire communities and killed at least 15,893 people and left more than 2,500 others missing and presumed dead.

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