6.3-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Western Japan

At least 23 people have been injured after a powerful earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck western Japan

Press TV

Japan Meteorological Agency increased the magnitude of the quake from 6.0 to 6.3, and said it occurred at 5:33 a.m. local time on Saturday (2033 GMT on Friday) near Awaji Island in the Hyogo Prefecture.

The agency noted that the tremor hit at a depth of around 15 kilometers (9 miles).

No tsunami warning was issued in the aftermath of the strong tremor.

Local officials on Awaji Island said they have received reports of damage to building roofs and walls but no large-scale structural damage has been reported.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, which sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of four tectonic plates causes high seismic activity.

On March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami that ravaged through the country’s northeastern coast.

The waves from the tsunami, which hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant 45 minutes after the quake, shut down the backup generators. The early damage disabled the reactor’s cooling system, leading to meltdown, explosions and radiation leaks.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant has leaked radiation into air, soil and the Pacific Ocean ever since it was hit by the massive earthquake and tsunami.

Nuclear experts say it will take decades to prepare the necessary safety for the return of the thousands of residents who were forced to leave their homes since they were located within the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the crippled plant.