Connect with us

Economy & Tech

M6.6 Earthquake Hits Western Japan, Injuring at Least 9 People

The earthquake did not trigger a tsunami but left nine people with minor injuries. A nuclear power plant located near the epicenter reported no anomalies.



Roof tiles on the road after the earthquake. 6:00 am, April 18, Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture (©Kyodo)

At approximately 11:14 pm on April 17, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck Ainan in Ehime Prefecture and Sukumo in Kochi Prefecture. It registered a 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale. The earthquake did not trigger a tsunami.

Ehime Prefecture Governor Tokihiro Nakamura (second from right) speaks at the disaster response headquarters meeting on April 18, Ehime Prefectural Government Office. (©Kyodo)

Seismic intensities ranging from 1 to 5-plus were reported from the Chubu region to Kyushu. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the epicenter was located in the Bungo Channel at a depth of 39 kilometers (24 miles).

The Nankai Trough

The earthquake's epicenter was located in the hypocenter region of the anticipated Nankai Trough megaquake. However, the Japan Meteorological Agency stated at a press conference that "it cannot be said that the [latest] earthquake directly increased the likelihood of a Nankai Trough mega-earthquake."

This marked the first seismic intensity scale 6 earthquake in Shikoku since the scale was introduced in October 1996.

According to reports from fire departments and other sources, six people sustained minor injuries in Ehime Prefecture. Additionally, in Oita Prefecture, a woman in her 70s in Oita city and a man in his 80s in Tsukumi suffered light injuries from falls. One person also sustained minor injuries in Kochi Prefecture.

A police officer cleans up debris on April 18 in Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture. (©Kyodo)

Ikata Nuclear Power Plant

On April 18, the Nuclear Regulation Authority announced that no operational abnormalities were detected in Unit 3 of the Ikata Nuclear Power Plant. The plant is located in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture, and is operated by Shikoku Electric Power Company. No anomalies were detected in the monitoring posts that observe radiation levels around the plant either. 

Ikata Nuclear Power Plant at 9 am on April 18. (©Kyodo)

Similarly, no issues were reported with the cooling systems of the spent fuel in the Unit 3 reactor. The nuclear plant is situated on the Sadamisaki Peninsula, extending from the northwest tip of Shikoku to Kyushu. The recent earthquake's epicenter was near the nuclear plant. According to the regulatory authority, the town of Ikata experienced a seismic intensity of 4.


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun