A 6.1-magnitude earthquake has struck the southern coast of Japan's main Honshu Island, without any immediate reports of casualties or damage. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake hit at 12:22 p.m. (0322 GMT) on Sunday, some 644 kilometers (400 miles) south of the Japanese capital, Tokyo. The USGS also said that the tremor, which triggered no tsunami warning, hit at a depth of 424 kilometers.
Following the quake, a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said “We have received no reports of damage to properties nor reports of injuries so far.”On April 19, a major earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale jolted islands off northern Japan. According to the USGS, the quake occurred at 0305 GMT near the Russian-administered Kuril island chain, 1,490 (about 925 miles) kilometers north of Tokyo. On April 13, nearly two dozen people were injured after a 6.3 magnitude quake hit an area near Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture. Earthquakes are common in Japan, which sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of four tectonic plates causes high seismic activity. On March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami that ravaged the country’s northeastern coast. The waves from the tsunami, which hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant 45 minutes after the quake, shut down the backup generators at the facility. The early damage disabled the reactor’s cooling system, leading to meltdown, explosions and radiation leaks. The Fukushima Daiichi plant has leaked radiation into air, soil and the Pacific Ocean ever since it was hit by the massive earthquake and tsunami. MAM/HGH