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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
In pictures: Japan earthquake

Rescuers sift through the wreckage of a house in Kashiwazaki

Several people were killed and scores injured when a strong earthquake struck the area of Niigata in central Japan.

A passer-by looks at a collapsed house in Kashiwazaki

Worst hit was the city of Kashiwazaki, where a number of houses were damaged and older buildings were reduced to rubble.

The remains of a traditional house in Kashiwazaki

Nearly 300 buildings in the city were destroyed and more than 7,000 people evacuated from their homes, officials said.

The remains of a house in Kashiwazaki

The region subsequently suffered several strong aftershocks.

A house in Kashiwazaki

Witnesses said the quake in Kashiwazaki was too strong for people to stand and went on for 20 seconds.

People look at a damaged road in Kariwa village, Niigata prefecture

Elsewhere, the earthquake caused roads to buckle. A tsunami warning was briefly issued and 50cm-high waves were reported to have hit the coast.

Workers stand in from of the burnt electricity transformer at the nuclear plant

At the Kashiwazaki nuclear plant, a fire broke out in an electricity transformer and a small amount of water containing radioactive material leaked into the sea, officials said.






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