(Tokyo) A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck central Japan on Friday, according to the national meteorological agency, with no immediate casualties reported.
The earthquake occurred at 2:42 p.m. (1:42 a.m. Eastern Time) at a depth of 10 kilometers, according to the same source, which did not issue a tsunami warning.
The quake reached level 6 on the Japanese Shindo scale, which goes up to 7, in Suzu City, Ishikawa, meaning it could cause major landslides.
The American Geophysical Institute US Geological Survey (USGC) estimated its magnitude at 6.2 and located it slightly off the coast, while the Japanese agency placed the epicenter on land.
No deaths or damage were initially reported.
Bullet train traffic was halted between Nagano and Kanazawa, a popular tourist spot, according to Japan Railway.
This Friday is a public holiday in Japan, which celebrates “Golden Week” which includes four days off. The population usually takes advantage of this period to travel or to return to their families.
The city of Suzu, where this earthquake occurred, is located on the Noto Peninsula. In 2007, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck a fishing village there, injuring hundreds and damaging more than 200 buildings.
Government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters in Tokyo that no abnormalities had been detected at the Shiga and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plants, located in the affected area.
Earthquakes are common in Japan, which sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an area of high seismic activity that stretches across Southeast Asia and the Pacific Basin.
The archipelago has strict construction standards so that its buildings are able to withstand strong tremors. Emergency exercises to prepare for a major earthquake are regularly organized.
The country remains haunted by the memory of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake of March 11, 2011, off the northeast coast of Japan.
The terrible tremor had resulted in a tsunami which was the main cause of the heavy human toll of nearly 18,500 dead or missing.
The ensuing nuclear accident at the flood-ridden Fukushima Daiichi plant, where the cores of three of six reactors melted, forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate and rendered entire communities uninhabitable for several years.
In March last year, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake rocked northeastern Japan, killing three people.