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Major Kumamoto aftershocks possible for months: meteorological agency

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) warned Kumamoto and Oita prefectural residents to stay prepared for powerful aftershocks from April's Kumamoto Earthquake for months to come.

Seismic activity has been waning in the prefectures in the month since two massive quakes hit the region on April 14 and 16. However, JMA earthquake and tsunami observation division chief Gen Aoki told a May 14 news conference that, based on past earthquake trends in Kyushu, the possibility of a quake registering a lower-6 or higher on the Japanese 7-point intensity scale in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures -- including in areas that have not experienced tremors in the past month -- could not be eliminated for at least two months.

Aoki added that aftershocks registering a lower-6 intensity could hit the Kumamoto and Aso districts of Kumamoto Prefecture, and those registering around an upper-5 may strike central Oita Prefecture. He called on residents in areas with active faults to be prepared for more quakes, saying, "It's necessary to be doubly, triply prepared."

As for the spate of recent earthquake activity, Aoki said, "The main characteristic is that after huge temblors hit the Kumamoto region, the quakes spread to the Aso and Oita regions."

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