Another earthquake hits Japan

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A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck southern Japan early on Saturday morning, triggering a tsunami advisory.

The quake’s epicenter was near the city of Kumamoto and measured at a depth of 40 km (25 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The USGS minutes earlier reported a 7.1 quake with a depth of 7 km close to the same location.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami advisory, which identifies the presence of a marine threat and asks people to leave coastal regions, for the Ariake and Yatsushiro seas.

Local broadcaster NHK said the advisory suggested a possible wave of one meter in height.

This is the second major tremor in two days to rock Japan’s south after a 6.2 quake hit near Mashiki town on Thursday, killing nine people and injuring about 1,000 others.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has scheduled to visit the earthquake-hit area in Kumamoto prefecture on Saturday, he said at a meeting at Emergency Response Headquarters in Tokyo on Friday evening.

“I would like to see the site with my own eyes and hear from the victims directly,” Abe said.

Abe told parliament early on Friday that he’d mobilized 3,000 members of Japan’s Self Defense Force, police and fire services to join the rescue effort overnight. He said the government is “racing against the clock and will provide more personnel if necessary.”

Japan, which sits along the so-called Ring of Fire, has had more than a fair share of earthquakes.

The largest recorded quake to hit Japan came on March 11, 2011, when a magnitude-9.0 quake centered 231 miles (372 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo devastated the country.

That quake triggered a massive tsunami that swallowed entire communities in eastern Japan. It caused catastrophic meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The disaster killed about 22,000 people, almost 20,000 from the initial quake and tsunami, and the rest from health conditions related to the disaster.

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