• Kyodo

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A small island in Kagoshima Prefecture has been hit by frequent earthquakes since late last week, with the weather agency warning of further temblors in coming days.

Most recently, a quake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.2 jolted Akuseki Island at 11:01 p.m. on Monday, registering 4 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7, a level at which most people are startled or woken from sleep.

Masashi Higo, mayor of Toshima village, holds a news conference in Kagoshima on Monday. | KYODO
Masashi Higo, mayor of Toshima village, holds a news conference in Kagoshima on Monday. | KYODO

There are no reports of injuries or property damage caused by the series of quakes that started Friday on the island with a population of 70, according to the village office of Toshima which administers the islet.

More than 200 perceptible quakes were observed on the islet and others in the area over the past four days, including five that rated level 4 on the seismic intensity scale.

While urging local people to prepare for the possibility of additional strong temblors, the Meteorological Agency dismissed concerns that the recent development might signal the coming of mammoth quakes feared to bring future devastating tsunamis to Japan’s Pacific coastal areas.

The quakes currently affecting the islands differ in type and location from megaquakes, the agency said, referring to anticipated major quakes said to be likely to occur within the next 30 years in the Pacific Ocean along the Nankai Trough, which stretches off southwestern Japan toward the country’s central regions.

Akuseki Island is part of a chain known as the Tokara Islands, located southwest of Kyushu. Suwanose Island, next to Akuseki Island, has an active volcano that erupted last month, throwing large rocks up to 1 kilometer from the crater.

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