OKINANAWA – Located in the South of Japan, Okinawa Island and a chain of its neighbouring islands have been hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.7. There were no tsunami warnings following the earthquake and no immediate reports of casualties.

The Japan Meteorological reported that the quake occurred at 2.20pm local time on Monday, off the coast of Okinawa, at a depth of 40 kilometres below sea level. The residents in the South were shaken by the quake just minutes after a strong tremble was felt in the North.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.5 had occurred off of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan at 2.13pm local time. There were no tsunami warnings issued or immediate reports of damage from that occurrence either.

About 20% of the world’s earthquakes of magnitudes 6 and greater happen in Japan, making it one of the world’s most seismically active areas. Although regularly struck by this natural disaster, Japan exercises stringent building codes to prevent damages.

The previous earthquake happened in April 2016. A quake with the magnitude of 6.4 struck the east of Kumamoto city, southern Japan. At least 9 people died and more than 250 were injured after the earthquake, with thousand fleeing their homes and spending the night in the open. East of Kumamoto, where shakings were most severe, residents of the town Mashiki shared that walls had collapsed and water supplies were cut off.

In less than 2 days following that, an earthquake with magnitude 7.3 struck the same region, Japan’s southern island of Kyushu. At least 34 people were killed and about 1500 injured. The earthquake struck at 1.30am on a Saturday, causing landslides.

Japan’s strongest earthquake occurred on 11 March 2011. With a magnitude 9, it struck the northeast coast of Japan. The disaster triggered a tsunami which led to more than 18,000 deaths and nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

– Priscilla Lim, Correspondent (Asia: Far East)

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