A powerful earthquake in northern Japan has killed at least six people and injured more than 100. Power has been cut to many homes and businesses, but for now, officials say two major nuclear power facilities appear to have avoided damage. VOA's Kurt Achin is monitoring news of the earthquake from Seoul.
At least one Japanese reporter broadcast live images of the earthquake as it struck Saturday morning:
As he points out shaking buildings, the journalist says the time is 8:44 in the morning. He says he can hear shutters rattling, and feels a strong shaking.
Scientists say the 7.2 magnitude quake took place underground in Japan's Iwate prefecture, about 400 kilometers north of Tokyo.
Military aircraft are assessing the damage, as residents prepare for possible aftershocks, which could potentially raise the number of casualties.
Senior Japanese officials say they are wasting no time in their response.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura says the damage reports are gradually getting bigger with time. He says overnment agencies and police in the field are in close communication to gather information as quickly as possible.
The quake has reportedly cut the power supply to nearly 30,000 Japanese homes and businesses. However, officials say nuclear power plants near the quake zone are in working order and pose no danger.
Japan has temporarily suspended certain train routes that approach the quake zone.
Geologists say Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. Its last major quake 13 years ago in Kobe killed more than 6,000 people.