Japan Earthquake Collapses Homes; At Least 22 Hurt

Disaster strikes area of 1998 Olympics
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2014 4:45 PM CST
Japan Earthquake Collapses Homes; At Least 22 Hurt
A traffic board indicates an expressway between Sakamachi and Shinanomachi in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, is closed due to an earthquake.   (AP Photo/Yohei Nishimura)

A strong earthquake has struck a mountainous area of central Japan that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics, knocking down at least 10 homes in a ski resort town and injuring more than 20 people, officials say. The magnitude-6.8 earthquake hit near Nagano city shortly after 10 pm at a depth of 6 miles, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The US Geological Survey measured the quake's magnitude at 6.2. Since the quake occurred inland, there was no possibility of a tsunami. But a local restaurant owner tells Japanese media he has "never experienced a quake that shook so hard."

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority said no abnormalities were reported at three nuclear power plants in the affected areas. (All of Japan's nuclear plants are offline following 2011's tsunami.) But at least 22 people were injured—three of them seriously—in Nagano city, the resort town of Hakuba, and elsewhere, the National Polilce Agency told Japan's Kyodo news agency. The agency told Kyodo that 21 people were trapped underneath the collapsed houses, but they all were rescued, with two of them injured. The quake was followed by 21 aftershocks, said an official who warned of further aftershocks and urged residents to watch out for landslides. (More Japan stories.)

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