Strong Quake Shakes Central Japan
TOKYO (AP) _ A strong earthquake struck central Japan Tuesday, temporarily closing a local expressway and injuring six people but causing little damage.
The injured _ four in Mie state and one each in Aichi and Gifu states _ were taken to hospitals, but their injuries were not serious, police said.
The quake, which hit at 1:43 a.m., had a magnitude of 5.5 and was centered about 25 miles underground in southern Mie prefecture, the Meteorological Agency said.
The agency initially said the predawn quake had a magnitude of 5.7, but later revised it downward. The epicenter, near the ancient capital of Nara, was 190 miles southwest of Tokyo.
Katsuhiko Kawaguchi, a spokesman for the Mie prefectural police, said a man cut his forehead after jumping out of his home in panic and hitting a concrete wall, and another man injured his head after a piece of furniture from a cabinet fell onto him while he slept. A 30-year-old man cut his head when an electric iron fell on him and a woman was taken to the hospital in shock, Kawaguchi said.
In Aichi, police temporarily halted traffic on a major highway as officials checked for damage and a woman suffered a broken nose after she ran into her mother while trying to run outside, said Kenzo Hanaya, a local police spokesman.
In Gifu, just north of Aichi, a man staying in a hotel broke his left foot while fleeing for safety, said police official Masahiro Marui.
The quake comes as part of a string of tremors around Japan.
A quake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.9 shook a string of volcanic islands south of Tokyo on Tuesday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The quake was centered about 6 miles under the seabed near the islands of Niijima and Kozushima. It was unrelated to the earlier earthquake, the agency said.
Earthquakes have persistently hit the small island chain since a mountain on the island of Miyakejima began volcanic activity in June. Miyakejima’s population of 3,855 has been evacuated.