Tokyo A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake rocked a rural area of northern Japan today, killing at least three people, triggering landslides and reportedly knocking down a bridge, fire and disaster management officials said. At least 64 were injured.
Two nuclear power plants in the area were undergoing inspections but there were no immediate reports of damage, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura. Electricity had been cut to about 29,000 households in the quake zone, he said. There was no danger of tsunami.
The 8:43 a.m. quake was centered in the northern prefecture (state) of Iwate about 280 miles north of Tokyo. It was felt as far away as the capital.
"It shook so violently that I couldn't stand still. I had to lean on the wall," said Masanori Oikawa, an Oshu city official at home near the epicenter when the quake struck. "When I rushed to the office, cabinets had been thrown onto the floor and things on the desks were scattered all over the place."