The earthquake was 24 miles deep and centred 116km south southeast of Kagoshima in Japan
An earthquake at an estimated magnitude of 6.4 has struck off the coast of south east Japan.
The quake was 39km (24 miles) deep and centred 116 km south southeast of Kagoshima.
The earthquake struck at roughly 9.45pm (local time). Some sea level fluctuations were expected however damage from a tsunami was considered to be unlikely soon after the earthquake struck.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas.
Japan accounts for about 20% of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.
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No tsunami warning has been issued.
In recent weeks several lower intensity earthquakes have struck near the city of Kumamoto.
In September last year a 6.6Mw earthquake struck near Sapporo in the north of Japan, leaving 5.3 million residents without power.
Forty-one people were confirmed dead and six hundred and ninety-one were injured.
Japan is part of the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’.
What is the Ring of Fire?
The Ring of Fire is a Pacific region home to over 450 volcanoes, including three of the world’s four most active volcanoes – Mount St. Helens in the USA, Mount Fuji in Japan and Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. It is also sometimes called the circum-Pacific belt.
Around 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur in the Ring of Fire, and 80% of the world’s largest earthquakes.
The 40,0000 kilometre horse-shoe-shaped ring loops from New Zealand to Chile, passing through the coasts of Asia and the Americas on the way.
It stretches along the Pacific Ocean coastlines, where the Pacific Plate grinds against other, smaller tectonic plates that form the Earth’s crust – such as the Philippine Sea plate and the Cocos and Nazca Plates that line the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
The people most at risk from activity in the Ring of Fire are in the US west coast, Chile, Japan and island nations including the Solomon Islands.
These areas are most at risk because they lie on so-called subduction zones – which are boundaries that mark the collision between two of the planet’s tectonic plates.