Homes damaged, power cut after strong quake rattles parts of western Honshu

AP, Kyodo

A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 shook parts of western Honshu early Friday afternoon, damaging homes and roads and cutting power to almost 77,000 households.

The Meteorological Agency said the earthquake occurred at 2:07 p.m. in central Tottori Prefecture, about 700 km west of Tokyo, at a depth of 10 km. It was followed by a weaker aftershock about 30 minutes later.

The agency said there was no danger of a tsunami from the inland temblor.

Okayama City Fire Department said a woman in her 70s was taken to hospital after she fell and broke her right leg. Five people are reported to have been injured in Tottori Prefecture, while others sustained injuries in Okayama, Hyogo and neighboring prefectures, according to police and other sources.

Two houses collapsed in the town of Hokuei, Tottori Prefecture, according to the local fire department. Roads were cracked and roof tiles laid strewn in the town. A number of dwellings in other parts of the prefecture suffered damage.

About 2,700 residents evacuated from their homes, according to local officials.

In Kurayoshi in the prefecture, ATMs at some local banks temporarily went offline due to a power outage.

Around 77,000 households in Tottori and Okayama prefectures were temporarily without electricity, but power was fully restored by around 5:40 p.m., according to Chugoku Electric Power Co.

West Japan Railway Co. temporarily suspended all services on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line between Shin-Osaka and Hakata stations.

The quake registered lower 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in parts of Tottori Prefecture, and upper 5 in a wide area in Tottori and Okayama prefectures, according to the agency. No abnormalities were detected at the Shimane nuclear plant, which is currently off-line, in nearby Shimane Prefecture, according to the utility.

Okayama airport closed its runway to check its safety, airport officials said.