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Japan earthquake damages homes


AP

Japan earthquake damages homes

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TOKYO (AP) – A strong earthquake late yesterday struck a mountainous area of central Japan that hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics, knocking down at least ten homes in a ski resort town and injuring more than 20 people, officials said.

The magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck near Nagano city shortly after 10 p.m. at a depth of ten kilometres (6 miles), the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake’s magnitude at 6.2. Since the quake occurred inland, there was no possibility of a tsunami.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said no abnormalities were reported at three nuclear power plants in the affected areas. All of Japan’s nuclear plants are offline following a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami in 2011 that sent three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant into meltdown. Fukushima is about 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of where yesterday’s earthquake occurred.

At least 22 people were injured, three of them seriously, in Nagano city, the Hakuba ski resort and elsewhere, the National Police Agency told Japan’s Kyodo news agency.

“We are trying to assess the situation as quickly as possible, and we’ll do our utmost for the rescue of the injured people,” Japan’s top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, told reporters.

One of the hardest-hit areas appeared to be Hakuba, a ski town west of Nagano that hosted events in the 1998 games. At least ten homes collapsed there, said Shigeharu Fujimura, a Nagano prefecture disaster management official.

The National Police Agency told Kyodo that 21 people were trapped underneath the collapsed houses, but they all were rescued, with two of them injured.

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