A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit the western Japan on Saturday, near Awaji Island in the Hyogo Prefecture, and injured at least 23 people. The quake occurred at 5.33 a.m. local time, Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The quake struck at a depth of around 15 kilometers and was caused by an unknown active fault, according to Kyodo news agency.
The active fault is believed to extend about 10 kilometers from north to south, according to the government’s earthquake research committee.
“There are many as-yet-unrecognized active faults,” Yoshimori Honkura, the committee chief, said, warning that a magnitude 6-level quake could happen anywhere in Japan.
There was no tsunami warning after the powerful tremor. However, there were reports of damage to building roofs and walls but no large-scale structural damage was reported, according to the international press.
Japan is placed on the Pacific Ring of Fire – the meeting area of four tectonic plates – which is the reason for earthquakes being common in the country.
On March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by a violent 9.0-magnitude earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami that destroyed the country’s northeastern coast and hit down Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Due to the impact, the plant’s cooling system was disabled, leading to meltdown, explosions and radiation leaks.