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Last Updated: Monday, 12 June 2006, 03:40 GMT 04:40 UK
Quake strikes south-western Japan

A strong earthquake has hit south-western Japan, shaking major cities including Hiroshima.

At least five people were injured in the magnitude 6.2 tremor. Its epicentre was in Oita prefecture, about 800km (500 miles) south-west of Tokyo.

The quake, which occurred early on Monday, halted local rail services.

No tsunami warnings were issued. Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the most seismically active countries in the world.

In 1995 a magnitude 7.2 tremor killed more than 6,400 people in the city of Kobe.

Minor injuries

Monday's tremor was nearly the same magnitude as last month's earthquake in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, which had a magnitude of 6.3.

But Japan has developed much of its infrastructure to withstand tremors.

The injuries were therefore relatively minor. In Hiroshima prefecture, a 82-year-old woman broke her leg, and a student suffered a small head injury after being hit by a falling object.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said it did not expect any major aftershocks.

"Aftershocks will happen but we're not predicting strong ones that could cause serious damages," agency official Takeshi Hachimine told reporters.

Japan's earthquake watch
25 Oct 04 |  Asia-Pacific
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01 May 03 |  In Depth

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