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Japan Rattled by Two Quakes and Minor Temblors

October 19, 1996

TOKYO (AP) _ A strong earthquake jolted the southern island of Kyushu on Saturday night, causing minor damage to homes. No injuries were reported.

The 7.0-magnitude temblor struck at 11:44 p.m., shaking the cities of Miyazaki and Kagoshima, about 540 miles southwest of Tokyo, according to Japanese authorities.

The quake was centered off the eastern coast of Kyushu, the main southernmost island, about 25 miles under the seafloor. A weaker, 5.4-magnitude quake had struck the same place about 30 minutes earlier, causing no damage.

National Broadcaster NHK showed footage taken in its Kyushu offices of equipment shaking and startled employees crouching, braced at their desks.

Rattled residents flooded Nichinan city hall with phone calls reporting minor damage to their homes, including broken windows, a spokesman said. No injuries were reported, NHK said.

``I felt a strong shaking sideways for about 30 seconds,″ city hall spokesman Akira Oshiro told the broadcaster. He said officials were mainly worried about possible tsunami waves.

The quake was felt as far away as Kobe and Osaka, about 300 miles to the northeast.

Officials issued a tsunami warning, and lifted it about two hours later.

They had warned of waves of up to 6 feet, but the highest reported wave was 6 inches. Footage showed firetrucks cordoning off coastal roads as boats bobbed gently in the water.

Several mild earthquakes hit southern and central Japan earlier Saturday, and a series of 5,000 small quakes _ most too small to be felt by humans _ have hit the Izu Peninsula, about 60 miles southwest of Tokyo, over the past several days.

Update hourly