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22 injured in powerful quake in western Japan

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-13 08:22

OSAKA - At least 22 people were injured as a powerful earthquake hit Hyogo Prefecture and its surrounding areas in western Japan early Saturday morning, Kyodo News reported.

Japan Meteorological Agency has revised the magnitude of the quake from 6.0 to 6.3 on the Richter scale.

The quake occurred at 5:33 a.m. local time. The epicenter of the quake was near Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture with a depth of around 15 kilometers underground, the agency said.

The Japanese government has set up a task force at the prime minister's office after the quake.

Japan's National Police Agency said 22 injuries had been confirmed in five prefectures including Hyogo, Osaka and Okayama as of 11 a.m. The Hyogo prefectural government said 14 injuries had been reported by 9:45 a.m.

Local officials on Awaji Island said they have received some reports of damage to building roofs and walls but no large-scale structural damage has been reported.

No quake damage was observed at nuclear facilities in western Japan including the Ikata power plant in Ehime Prefecture, the Shimane plant in Shimane Prefecture and an atomic laboratory in Osaka, Kyodo News quoted operators as saying. The Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, the only plant which is currently operating reactors in Japan, was unaffected.

Many train services in Hyogo and surrounding areas were suspended for safety inspections, but they have mostly resumed operations. Meanwhile, major airports in the area suffered no damage. Four planes delayed landing at Kansai International Airport in Osaka due to the quake, but they all arrived safely, the report added.

A devastating quake struck Kobe and surrounding areas in Hyogo in 1995, killing over 6,000 people and injuring more than 40,000.

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