Strong aftershocks might rattle southwestern Japan in the coming days as a result of Thursday night's magnitude-6.5 earthquake in central Kumamoto, the Meteorological Agency and seismology experts say.

As of 9 p.m. Friday, 147 aftershocks had been recorded since the quake struck at 9:26 p.m. Thursday, it said. The quake took the seven-tier Japanese intensity scale to its max, making it the first level 7 temblor to rock Kyushu.

By number of aftershocks logged within 12 hours of a quake, the Kumamoto temblor ranks third since 1995, the agency said. The top two spots are claimed by the Niigata earthquake of 2004, which resembles the Kumamoto quake, and the Iwate-Miyagi inland quake of 2008.