A powerful earthquake rocked a rural area of northern Japan on Saturday, killing at least two people, triggering landslides and reportedly knocking down a bridge, fire and disaster management officials said. At least 64 were injured.
Two nuclear power plants in the area were undergoing inspections but there were no immediate reports of damage, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura. Electricity had been cut to about 29,000 households in the quake zone, he said. There was no danger of tsunami.
Japan’s meteorological agency measured the quake at 7.2 magnitude, but the U.S. Geological Survey revised its measurement down to 6.8. The 8:43 a.m. quake was centered in the northern prefecture (state) of Iwate about 280 miles north of Tokyo. It was felt as far away as the capital.
“It shook so violently that I couldn’t stand still. I had to lean on the wall,” said Masanori Oikawa, an Oshu city official at home near the epicenter when the quake struck. “When I rushed to the office, cabinets had been thrown onto the floor and things on the desks were scattered all over the place.”
One of the deaths was a man who ran out of a building in fear and was hit by a passing truck, and the other confirmed death was a man who was buried in a landslide while he was fishing, Machimura said. – msnbc