Strong earthquakes rattle southwest Japan

/ Source: The Associated Press

A series of strong earthquakes rattled southwestern Japan on Friday, prompting the government to warn of a possible tsunami that ultimately never came.

There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries from the quakes, including from a magnitude 5.9 quake just off the Amami island at 4:38 a.m. Saturday local time (1838 GMT Friday).

Earlier Friday, the Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami advisory for southwestern Japan after an earthquake with preliminary magnitude 6.7 struck at 10:46 a.m. but lifted it about an hour later.

The notice covered islands around Miyakojima, part of the Ryukyu island chain that stretches southwest toward Taiwan. No tsunami was detected, agency official Kana Akiyama said.

The 6.7-magnitude quake came a little more than an hour after a tremor with a preliminary 6.2 magnitude quake struck the same area. A third quake, also with a preliminary 6.2 magnitude, followed later in the morning.

"I could feel a little bit of shaking, but it wasn't strong enough to rattle cups on desktops and the like," local policeman Takumi Higa said.

Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries because it sits atop four tectonic plates. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake jolted northern Japan early Thursday, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.

Miyakojima is about 1,130 miles southwest of Tokyo, and Amami is about 1,000 miles southwest of the capital.