By MARI YAMAGUCHI
TOKYO (AP) — Authorities were looking into possible casualties and damage after a strong earthquake hit Friday afternoon near central Japan, but there were no reports of a tsunami threat.
Government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters that authorities were checking into possible casualties, putting human life first. There was a report of buildings being damaged, but details were still being confirmed, he said.
The 6.2 quake struck Ishikawa prefecture at 2:42 p.m. near the central west coast of the main Japanese island of Honshu, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s earthquake information center. The Japan Meteorological Agency put the preliminary magnitude at 6.3, but later raised it to 6.5. They measured the depth at about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles).
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said two people were reported hurt in Ishikawa’s Suzu City, on the northern tip of the Noto Peninsula: One person was found without vital signs after falling from a ladder, and another was injured when a cabinet fell on top of them. Japanese reports do not list people as dead, even if their hearts have stopped beating, until the deaths are declared officially by a medical doctor.
Separately, two people were rescued from damaged buildings, and a fifth person was injured when falling, the agency said.
There were no reports of any problems at the two major nuclear facilities in the area, according to Matsuno.
East Japan Railway Co. said Shinkansen super-express bullet trains connecting Tokyo and Kanazawa in the quake-hit Ishikawa prefecture were temporarily suspended for safety checks but have since resumed normal operations, although there are some delays.
Japan is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone nations. A massive 2011 quake in the country’s northeast caused a devastating tsunami and nuclear plant meltdown that still reverberates today.