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M6.0 quake jolts southwestern Japan islands; 230 temblors recorded in recent days

Akuseki Island, one of the Tokara Islands, is seen in the village of Toshima, Kagoshima Prefecture, in this photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter. (Mainichi/Takeshi Noda)

FUKUOKA -- A strong earthquake jolted a chain of islands in southwest Japan on Dec. 9, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said. No tsunami warning was issued.

    The earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 6.0 struck at 11:05 a.m. at a depth of approximately 20 kilometers, and measured an upper 5 on the 7-point Japanese seismic intensity scale on Akuseki Island in the village of Toshima, one of the Tokara Islands administered by Kagoshima Prefecture.

    This image from the Japan Meteorological Agency website shows the epicenter of an earthquake that struck with an estimated magnitude of 6.0 near the Tokara Islands in southwest Japan on the morning of Dec. 9, 2021.

    "The back-and-forth shaking went on for a while. It's scary because there've been quite a few quakes (in this area) lately," the 67-year-old operator of inn "Nankai-so" on Akuseki Island said. "I will evacuate to a school after packing up my stuff."

    The inn has been temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there were no guests at the time of the quake.

    The principal of Akusekijima elementary & junior high school told the Mainichi Shimbun, "The tremors are continuing, but we're OK. None of our nine students was injured."

    According to the JMA's Fukuoka Regional Headquarters, there were a total of 230 temblors measuring at least 1 on the Japanese seismic scale around the Tokara Islands between the afternoon of Dec. 4 and 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 9. Until Dec. 8, a quake registering 4 on the Japanese scale had been the largest of these.

    (Japanese original by Hiroshi Higa, Hayato Jojima and Azusa Yamazaki, Kyushu News Department)

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