Five dead, hundreds hurt in Japan quakes

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The Independent Online

Several powerful earthquakes shook north-western Japan over a span of two hours yesterday, toppling and setting alight homes, causing blackouts, cutting water and gas services and derailing a bullet train. At least five people were reported dead and 500 others were injured. Another four people were also said to be missing last night.

Several powerful earthquakes shook north-western Japan over a span of two hours yesterday, toppling and setting alight homes, causing blackouts, cutting water and gas services and derailing a bullet train. At least five people were reported dead and 500 others were injured. Another four people were also said to be missing last night.

The quakes, which first struck around 6pm local time, were centred near Ojiya, about 160 miles north-west of Tokyo. Strong aftershocks continued, so severe in parts that people had difficulty standing. Buildings in Tokyo swayed several times for up to a minute at one point.

One elderly man in Ojiya died in hospital after being hit by falling rocks and a 34-year-old man was killed by a falling wall as he fled his home.

A bullet train carrying about 150 passengers derailed and some of the cars tipped to the side near the city of Nagaoka, but nobody appeared to be hurt.

The quakes came just days after Japan's deadliest typhoon for more than a decade, which left 77 dead.

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