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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Magnitude 6.6 quake causes strong shaking in western Japan

By Shin Shoji Bloomberg

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck Tottori prefecture in western Japan, causing power outages, train stoppages and a handful of injuries in the nation’s strongest shake in six months.

There were no reported deaths following the quake, which occurred inland at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) at 2:07 p.m. local time, causing shaking of lower 6 on Japan’s 7-point scale in the country’s least-populated prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It was strongly felt as far away as Kyoto and the industrial hub of Osaka. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency reported seven injuries, according to a 5:30 p.m. statement.

Bullet trains serving western Japan operated by Central Japan Railway Co. and Western Japan Railway Co. were halted after the quake. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office set up a response team. Aftershocks were continuing to be felt in the area. There was no tsunami threat, the meteorological agency said.

In April, more than 100 people were killed after two large temblors – a weaker initial tremor, and a stronger one days later – struck the earthquake-prone nation’s southernmost island of Kyushu.

Friday’s quake caused power outages, with 36,200 homes without electricity at 2:30 p.m., Chugoku Electric Power Co. said. Electricity has returned to all regions, the utility said.

The utility also confirmed no abnormalities at the idled Shimane nuclear power plant, about 80 kilometers from the epicenter. Kansai Electric Power Co. said there was no impact on its plants, while Shikoku Electric Power Co. said the Ikata No. 3 reactor in Ehime prefecture was operating normally.

Japan Display Inc., which operates a plant in Tottori, hadn’t found any damage or injuries, spokesman Hirokazu Miyabayashi said by phone. Aeon Co., Japan’s largest supermarket chain operator, set up a unit in its headquarters to investigate the situation and was gathering information, spokesman Satoshi Ohtsuka said.