OSAKA — A strong earthquake measuring an estimated magnitude of 5.2 jolted a wide area of western Japan on Monday morning, the largest aftershock from the powerful 6.4 magnitude quake that hit the region Saturday, the Meteorological Agency said.
That first temblor left two people dead and at least 185 injured.
There are no reports of injuries or damage from the 5:41 a.m. quake. No tsunami warning was issued.
“The ongoing aftershocks are making everyone nervous,” said Kazushi Karasaki, 29, an employee of the government of Kochi, Hiroshima Prefecture, the hardest-hit town. He said he rushed to his office after being jolted awake by the quake.
The recent quake disrupted bullet train schedules on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line as West Japan Railway Co. was forced to run trains at reduced speeds between Shin-Onomichi Station in Hiroshima Prefecture and Tokuyama Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
It also forced Mazda Motor Corp. to temporarily suspend operations at a plant in Hiroshima Prefecture. Many businesses, including Mitsubishi Electric Corp., NEC Corp. and Oji Paper Co., were still recovering from Saturday’s quake.
Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane Nuclear Power Plant in Kashima, Shimane Prefecture, and Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata Nuclear Power Plant in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture, were both unaffected.
Monday’s quake registered an upper 5 on the 7-point Japanese intensity scale in Kochi and a 4 in other parts of Hiroshima and in areas in Ehime and Yamaguchi prefectures.
The quake was also felt in Shimane, Okayama, Tokushima, Kagawa, Kochi, Saga and Oita prefectures.
An earthquake measuring an upper 5 on the Japanese scale is strong enough to make it difficult for a person to move, and can topple most dishes in a cupboard and most books on a bookshelf, according to the agency.
The focus of Monday’s quake is estimated to be about 50 km under the Sea of Aki, within the Seto Inland Sea and near the focus of Saturday’s quake.
The government’s Earthquake Research Committee warned that more aftershocks measuring around a magnitude of 5 may hit the area.
The number of aftershocks totaled 372 as of Monday morning, including 23 that were felt.
Meanwhile, the Meteorological Agency on Monday named Saturday’s earthquake in western Japan the “2001 Geiyo Earthquake.” Geiyo is a word coined from parts of old place-names in the Hiroshima and Ehime areas that were hard hit by Saturday’s quake.
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