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5.5-magnitude quake hits Japan's Hokkaido, no tsunami risk

5.5-magnitude quake hits Japan's Hokkaido, no tsunami risk

The epicentre of the earthquake was around 55 kilometres southeast of the city of Sapporo, the US Geological Survey said.

TOKYO: A 5.5-magnitude earthquake jolted Japan's northern island of Hokkaido  on Thursday (Feb 21) but there was no tsunami warning and no immediate reports of injuries or damage to property, authorities said.

The quake struck at 9.22pm (8.22pm Singapore time) at a depth of 41 kilometres, according to the US Geological Survey.

The epicentre was around 55 kilometres southeast of the city of Sapporo, the USGS added.

The Japanese meteorological agency confirmed there was no tsunami risk following the jolt.

"The government is doing its best to grasp the situation, but so far there has been no report of major damage," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo in the immediate aftermath.

No abnormality was detected at nuclear plants in the region, Suga said, adding that the government was prepared to mount rescue operations if required.

Shinkansen bullet train services were temporarily suspended in Hokkaido but no major blackout was reported.

The earthquake triggered landslides in the coastal town of Niikappu and nearby Atsuma but had not damaged households, according to Jiji news agency.

Footage from public broadcaster NHK showed lights flickering on and off in a town close to the epicentre.

In September last year, a powerful 6.6-magnitude quake rocked Hokkaido, triggering landslides, collapsing houses and killing more than 40.

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year.

But rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even strong tremors often do little damage.

Source: AFP/nc/ec/de


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