A strong earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale jolted the island of Kozu in the Izu island chain on Saturday, killing at least one person, officials said.
The victim, identified only as male, was in a car buried by a landslide triggered by the 4:01 p.m. quake, the Metropolitan Police Department said. More than 10 landslides have occurred on the 19-sq.-km island, it said.
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara immediately asked the Ground Self-Defense Force to dispatch a disaster rescue team to the island, which is home to 2,300 people and under the jurisdiction of the metropolitan government, metro officials said.
The GSDF said it will send a team of 30 from the Asaka garrison in Saitama Prefecture and a helicopter and a patrol plane from the Kisarazu garrison in Chiba Prefecture.
The Japan Coast Guard dispatched two patrol boats and an airplane from Yokohama.
The Meteorological Agency said magnitude 5-class aftershocks may follow.
The latest quake registered a lower 6 on the 7-point Japanese intensity scale in Kozu, lower 5 in the neighboring island of Niijima, and 4 on the island of Miyake and the town of Kawazu on the mainland in Shizuoka Prefecture.
The quake, whose focus was estimated at 10 km below the seabed some 5 km off Kozu, had an intensity of 3 in Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture, on the island of Oshima in the Izu island chain and in Yokohama, according to the agency.
The quake registered a 2 on the Japanese intensity scale in Tokyo and many other locations in eastern and central Japan.
The agency said the temblor has caused minor changes in tide levels but there was no need for a tsunami warning.
Power outages affected much of Kozu and water pipes burst in some places, Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) said.
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori returned to his official residence to deal with the quake and Cabinet ministers rushed to the Crisis Management Center there.
Naoya Mikami, an official at the Meteorological Agency’s Earthquake and Tsunami Observations Division, told the press the quake was not directly related to magma, but may have been triggered by recent volcanic activity on Miyake Island.
Izu islands shaking
A series of moderate to strong earthquakes jolted the islands of Miyake, Niijima and Kozu in the Izu island chain on Saturday, the Meteorological Agency said.
There have been no reports of casualties or damage by the quakes, which hit the three islands as well as neighboring islands at 9:10 a.m., 12:49 p.m. and 1:09 p.m., the agency said, adding no tsunami warning has been issued.
The first quake, measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale, jolted Miyake, a small volcanic island, the agency said.
The focus of the quake, which registered a 4 on the Japanese seismic scale to 7 in the Ako district in the village of Miyake and 3 on other parts of the island, was some 10 km below the ocean floor off the islands of Niijima and Kozu, northwest of Miyake.
More than 2,000 of Miyake’s 3,800 residents were evacuated during the week to safer parts of the island for fear of a volcanic eruption, but the agency said the latest quake was not directly caused by volcanic activity.
The second quake, whose focus was some 10 km below the seabed off Miyake, had a magnitude of 4.7 and registered 3 on the Japanese scale in Niijima and Kozu, according to the agency.