Tokyo: Two strong earthquakes jolted Kyushu area in south western Japan on Thursday, amid reports that several people had been injured and trapped in collapsed buildings.
The aftershocks were continuing, Xinhua news agency reported.
The first quake measured 6.4 on the Richter scale in Mashiki town at the Kumamoto Prefecture. The second was of 5.7 magnitude and hit the same place, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Officials cited firefighters as saying that over 10 buildings were feared to have collapsed, trapping people. Fires were reported near Mashiki town.
Local reports said strong tremor lasted about 30 seconds during the first attack. The Shinkansen bullet train services were suspended after the strong quake.
The epicentre was detected at 32.7 degree north latitude and 130.8 degree longitude with a depth of 10 km.
Some concrete pieces fell down from buildings and many people rushed out from buildings, standing on the street in Kumamoto city, according to Japan’s broadcaster NHK TV footage.
NHK said police in Kumamoto Prefecture received reports of injuries and said several buildings may have collapsed in the area near the epicentre.
No abnormalities were found in the Sendai nuclear power plant, the only operating nuclear facility in the area.
The Japanese government has set up a special group to gather information on injuries and damage, said government spokesman Yoshihide Suga.