The quake occurred at 10:31 p.m. local time, 42 kilometers (26 miles) north-northeast of Shizuoka, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. There was no tsunami threat, an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency said at a midnight briefing televised by public broadcaster NHK.
Japan’s Honshu island has been rocked by multiple aftershocks since a March 11 quake and subsequent tsunami that Prime Minister Naoto Kan described as the country’s worst crisis since World War II. Kan yesterday called for calm as the government battled to prevent further radiation leaks from three quake-damaged nuclear reactors in Fukushima, 210 kilometers north of Tokyo.
Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka prefecture was unaffected by the latest quake, according to a notice posted at Kan’s office in Tokyo. Officials were seeking further information on possible casualties and are prepared to redeploy rescue workers as necessary, the notice said.
Japanese stocks had earlier plunged, sending the benchmark Topix index to its worst two-day slide since 1987. Losses widened after a third explosion at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima nuclear plant.