7.0-magnitude earthquake strikes Japan after earlier one killed nine

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TOKYO — A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck early Saturday morning in Japan’s Kyushu island, the same region a magnitude-6.2 quake struck two days earlier that killed nine people and injured more than 800.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the latest quake struck just west-southwest of Kumamoto-shi and about eight miles south-southeast of Ueki — the epicenter of the late Thursday tremor that left nine dead.

It was not immediately clear if anyone was injured or killed as a result of Saturday morning’s seismic event. Nor was it clear how much damage, if any, had been caused.

But it did prompt the Japan Meteorological Agency to issue a tsunami advisory for coastal regions of Japan on the Ariake Sea and Yatsushiro Sea around 2 a.m. Saturday (11 a.m. MDT Friday). The agency subsequently lifted all tsunami warnings and advisories.

Tsunami advisories are issued when the tsunami height is expected to between 0.65 to 3.3 feet. A warning would be for larger tsunamis.

On Friday, after six hours trapped under the ruins, an 8-month-old baby girl was pulled from the rubble caused by the first quake.

More shocks

Gen Aoki, director of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s earthquake division, warned ahead of the larger quake that more aftershocks could occur over the next week.

“This is an earthquake that is going to shake for a long time,” meteorologist Chad Myers said.

That could mean many more building collapses.

“The buildings that were damaged in the original shock have now been redamaged or reshaken,” he said. “And all of a sudden you have a cracked building, and it wants to fall down with the second shake.”

Robert Geller, a seismologist at Tokyo University, said the quake also increases the likelihood of eruptions from Mount Aso, Japan’s largest active volcano — though there have been no reports of extra activity, according to the Meteorological Agency.

A high-risk area

Japan, which sits along the so-called Ring of Fire, is no stranger to earthquakes.

The largest recorded quake to hit Japan came on March 11, 2011, when a magnitude-9.0 quake centered 231 miles northeast of Tokyo devastated the country.

That quake triggered a massive tsunami that swallowed entire communities in eastern Japan. It caused catastrophic meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The disaster killed about 22,000 people — almost 20,000 from the initial quake and tsunami, and the rest from health conditions related to the disaster.

Jie said Thursday’s quake gave him a new appreciation for life.

“This experience has helped me to treasure my family members and relatives even more, and not take what I have and the people who support me for granted.”

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