A powerful earthquake that jolted central Japan late Tuesday injured at least eight people in Shizuoka Prefecture, the hardest-hit area, police and rescue officials said Wednesday.
Government seismologists said the same day that the quake, the most powerful to hit Shizuoka city since 1935, was not a prelude to the major temblor experts have forecast for the Tokai area, which neighbors the Kanto region.
Nobuo Hamada, head of the Earthquake Prediction Information Division of the Meteorological Agency, said there were no clear crustal movements that would lead to a major earthquake in the Tokai region.
In the city of Shizuoka, a 72-year-old woman suffered a broken bone when she fell out of bed and a schoolboy sustained a minor foot injury.
The Meteorological Agency initially estimated the force of the 11:57 p.m. temblor at a magnitude of 5.3 but later downgraded it to 5.1.
The temblor registered upper 5 on the Japanese scale to 7 in the city of Shizuoka, and lower 5 in Shimada, Okabe and Kawane, all in Shizuoka Prefecture. Lesser shocks were felt in Gifu, Aichi, Tokyo and Chiba prefectures.
The Meteorological Agency put the focus of the quake at about 33 km underground in central Shizuoka Prefecture. No tsunami warning was issued.
Some parts of the Tomei Expressway in Shizuoka Prefecture were temporarily closed after the quake. Local train services in Shizuoka and Aichi were also suspended.
Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) officials inspected railway facilities to check for possible damage. Bullet train services on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line had already ended for the day when the quake struck.
The quake ruptured water pipes in Shizuoka Prefecture, caused rocks to fall from cliffs in some areas and shattered windowpanes. Gas supply in the city of Shizuoka was automatically shut off after the earthquake.
Chubu Electric Power Co. said operations at the Hamaoka Nuclear Plant in Hamaoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, were normal.
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