Thursday 29 September 2016

Fresh earthquake rocks southern Japan

Published 18/04/2016 | 06:36

Kyushu Expressway, damaged by an earthquake is seen in Mashiki town, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 15, 2016
Kyushu Expressway, damaged by an earthquake is seen in Mashiki town, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 15, 2016

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 hit the Kumamoto prefecture in southern Japan today, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

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Broadcaster NHK said a tsunami warning had not been issued.

KUMAMOTO, JAPAN - APRIL 17: Landslides caused by two earthquakes are seen on April 17, 2016 in Kumamoto, Japan. A magnitude-7.3 earthquake hit Kumamoto prefecture on Japan's Kyushu Island on Saturday after one measuring 6.4 struck on Thursday
KUMAMOTO, JAPAN - APRIL 17: Landslides caused by two earthquakes are seen on April 17, 2016 in Kumamoto, Japan. A magnitude-7.3 earthquake hit Kumamoto prefecture on Japan's Kyushu Island on Saturday after one measuring 6.4 struck on Thursday

Two deadly quakes hit the same region last week, killing 42 and injuring more than 1,000.

Earlier Japan's atomic regulator on Monday said there is no need to shut down the country's only operating nuclear station on southwestern Kyushu island, where a series of quakes killed more than 40 people and damaged infrastructure.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority said it was monitoring the situation closely at four nuclear power stations, after calling a special meeting of its commissioners.

Read More: Rescuers dig through dirt for 11 missing people after Japanese quake that killed at least 41

Sensitivity over atomic power is high in Japan after the Fukushima disaster of 2011 was sparked by an earthquake and tsunami.

There were no safety issues at the Sendai nuclear station, which has two reactors and is about 120 kilometres (72 miles) south-southwest of Kumamoto city, close to where the quakes struck, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said at a press conference after the meeting.

The NRA is monitoring Genkai, about 100 kilometres northwest of Kumamoto, and Ikata, about 160 kilometres east-northeast of the quake zone.

Sendai and Genkai, which has four reactors, are operated by Kyushu Electric Power, while Ikata is owned by Shikoku Electric Power.

The regulator is also monitoring Shimane, a two-reactor station operated by Chugoku Electric Power, located further away on the main island of Honshu.

The country has been taking steps back to nuclear energy since the Fukushima disaster led to the eventual shutdown of all reactors. It turned on the first reactor at Sendai in August after a two-year blackout and the second at the same station in October.

Another station that began operating later, however, was shut down by a court last month.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and many in industry say nuclear power is necessary to cut fuel bills despite widespread public opposition to atomic power, even after electricity bills rose.

Reuters

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