Strong quake hits Shizuoka, injuring 112

Magnitude 6.5 temblor halts two reactors, bullet trains

Kyodo News

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.5 shook Shizuoka Prefecture and its vicinity, including the Tokyo metropolitan area, at 5:07 a.m. Tuesday, injuring 112 people and causing two nuclear reactors to automatically shut down.

The Meteorological Agency said that while the temblor will not lead to the massive quake feared in the Tokai region — the so-called Tokai quake — it will further study the data on this quake.

There were no reports of deaths or missing people, the National Police Agency said.

Most of the injures occurred in Shizuoka Prefecture, where 103 people were hurt.

Four injuries were reported in Aichi and Kanagawa prefectures and one in Tokyo, local authorities said. Three among those in Shizuoka were seriously injured, they said.

About 3,340 homes were damaged by the quake, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Tsunami up to 60 cm high were observed in Shizuoka Prefecture, the Meteorological Agency said. It issued tsunami warnings shortly after the quake, but they were withdrawn after 7 a.m.

Elsewhere, the search resumed for 14 people missing in the wake of flooding and mudslides triggered by Typhoon Etau.

The earthquake, which originated about 23 km under the surface of the sea in Suruga Bay, measured a lower 6 on the Japanese seismic scale to 7 at several points in Shizuoka including Izu, Yaizu, Omaezaki and Makinohara, the Meteorological Agency said.

It was the first time since 1944 that a quake stronger than 6 was observed in Shizuoka Prefecture.

The No. 4 and No. 5 reactors at the Hamaoka nuclear plant in Omaezaki were automatically halted, and the radiation level in the No. 5 reactor building temporarily rose, but there was no leakage, according to Chubu Electric Power Co.

“As the reactors were suspended as planned, we see no problems in their quake-resistance,” a Chubu Electric official said.

Prime Minister Taro Aso told members of a task force set up at the prime minister’s office to collect information about the quake,

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) suspended bullet trains at 6 a.m. for two hours and halted local trains in Shizuoka and parts of Nagano Prefecture.

A roughly 100-meter stretch of the shoulder and adjacent lane on the Tomei Expressway collapsed in Makinohara, Shizuoka Prefecture, and parts of the highway surface were raised some 10 cm at the Kikugawa interchange, police said.

Due to the collapse, the Tomei Expressway was shut down between the Shizuoka and Fukuroi interchanges headed toward Tokyo, while the interchanges between Shizuoka and Kikugawa were closed in the lanes headed toward Nagoya. Authorities said they would get the expressway up and running by midnight Wednesday.

In Omaezaki, pipes burst at several points and water supplies were cut off, while in the cities of Shizuoka, Kakegawa and Shimada, electricity was cut off at a combined 9,500 households, according to the municipal governments there and Chubu Electric.

In the city of Shizuoka, four fires broke out following the quake, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Also Tuesday, police and Self-Defense Forces rescue workers resumed their search for 14 people missing after floods and landslides hit western Japan the day before due to heavy rain caused by Typhoon Etau.

In the hardest-hit town of Sayo, Hyogo Prefecture, 13 people were killed and 11 were unaccounted for, including an elementary school boy, while one person in Toyooka and two people in Tokushima across the Seto Inland Sea were missing, according to local police.

About 1,000 people were continuing to take shelter in Sayo.