An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.1 hit Shimane Prefecture early Monday, injuring five people. Authorities warned of the possibility of another powerful temblor within the next week or so.
According to the Meteorological Agency, the quake, which also caused a blackout and disrupted water supplies, occurred at 1:32 a.m. at a depth of 12 km. It registered upper 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7.
Four people were injured in the city of Oda, including a 17-year-old boy who fell from his bed, local officials said. A woman in her 70s in the adjacent city of Izumo sustained an injury in her leg after also falling out of her bed.
Some 100 households lost water and 50 households had their electricity cut off in Oda. The Shimane Prefectural Government requested the dispatch of a Self-Defense Forces unit to assist in distributing water to affected residents.
Officials confirmed damage to some buildings and cracks in roads.
No abnormalities were found at the Shimane nuclear power plant, according to its operator, Chugoku Electric Power Co.
“When the quake occurred, I couldn’t stand on my own and had to hold on to a column,” said Isamu Yamashita, an 81-year-old man who evacuated to an elementary school in Oda. “I can’t return home because I’m still scared of possible aftershocks.”
A major hospital in the city was forced to stop most of its outpatient services after a pipe in a water storage tank was damaged. The hospital received emergency water supplies from the city so it could stay open.
Later in the day, West Japan Railway Co. halted some express trains in the region, but road traffic was unaffected, according to the Japan Road Traffic Information Center.
A magnitude 5.1 quake struck Shimane in 1963 just two hours before a magnitude 5.0 quake hit some 10 to 20 km from the epicenter of the latest quake.