HIGHLIGHT: A magnitude 6.4 earthquake, which was centered in Kumamoto prefecture in the island of Kyushu, left at least nine people dead and at least 860 injured, based on reports from the Kumamoto prefecture disaster management office and other sources.
The quake hit the southern region of Japan at 9:26p.m. on Thursday night, according to Japan Meteorological Agency.
It caused major damage to some homes and buildings, but left no tsunami risk.
The town of Mashiki in Kumamoto prefecture was the hardest-hit, as it experienced tremors of up to intensity VII.
Dozens of aftershocks followed, including one that measured 5.7, based on data recorded by the Japan Meteorological Agency.
In Uki City in Kumamoto prefecture, the quake left some damage to the city hall, as some windows broke and parts of the ceiling collapsed, according to local official Keisukei Urata.
When the quake struck, he said he even witnessed some walls collapsing as he was driving home.
In an interview with NHK TV, Kasumi Nakamura, an official in Nishihara village described her own experience during the quake.
“Papers, files, flower vases and everything fell on the floor,” she said.
Nakamura added that the shaking lasted for 30 seconds, which started modest until it grew more and more violent.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he had urgently mobilized 3,000 members of Japan’s Self Defense Force, police and fire service to conduct rescue operations and prevent further casualty.