Strong quake hits Japan, houses toppled at ski resort; 39 injured

 An earthquake with preliminary magnitude of 6.8 jolted central Japan on Saturday evening, temporarily trapping 21 people when their homes collapsed and leaving 13 people injured, police and public broadcaster NHK said.

Strong quake hits Japan, houses toppled at ski resort; 39 injured

Tokyo: A strong 6.8 magnitude earthquake rattled Japan on Saturday evening, toppling houses at a popular ski resort village and inuring 39 people, Japan's Meteorological Agency (JMA) said Sunday.

The powerful quake was centred near Nagano Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, and struck at 10:08 pm local time.

There were conflicting reports about the magnitude of the quake. The Japan's Meteorological Agency pegged it at 6.8, while the USGS recorded a magnitude of 6.2.

Local TV visuals showed landslides and houses reduced to dust and debris in skiing village of Hakuba, where people were trapped inside collapsed homes.

According to the CNN, 300 rescue workers were deployed to secure trapped villagers.

All the nuclear reactors in the vicinity of the quake hit area were safe, tweeted the Tokyo Electric Power Co, Inc. (TEPCO)

The meteorological agency of Japan has warned of further aftershocks in the coming days. According to the website of JMA, some eight aftershocks of low magnitude have been recorded since yesterday.

Japan is vulnerable to strong quakes as it is located at the junction of several tectonic plates.

One of the worst quakes to hit Japan was of magnitude 9.0 that rattled the nation in March 2011, triggering a triple disaster as it also sparked tsunami and the Fukushima atomic plant disaster. Some 18,000 people were dead or missing.

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