What was thought to be the strongest quake in Kyushu, registering the maximum intensity on the Japanese shindo seismic scale, turned out to be a preshock of the earthquake that rocked Kumamoto on Saturday morning. The magnitude-7.3 quake and continuous series of aftershocks triggered a number of landslides as well as the collapse and cracking of major roadways in the mountainous region of Minamiaso.

The death toll from both quakes currently stands at 41 people, with at least 11 missing.

Saturday morning Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, due to the approach of heavy rain, there would be "not a moment spare," in the rescue efforts to save people trapped in collapsed buildings and to move the survivors to evacuation centers.