A strong earthquake has shaken north-west Japan, causing a fire at a nuclear power plant. The site was immediately shut down and the small blaze was controlled before it could cause any radiation leaks. At least two people died and more than 200 were injured in the quake, which measured 6.8 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was close to the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear facility in the Niigata region. Buildings swayed 250 kilometers away in the Japanese capital Tokyo. An initial tsunami warning was later withdrawn.
The quake struck at just after ten o’clock local time. In the worst hit areas, many buildings collapsed and transport infrastructure was also badly damaged. Most people would have been at home, as Monday is a holiday in Japan. An earthquake of the same magnitude in Niigata three years ago killed 65 people and injured more than 3,000. That was the deadliest quake since a tremor measuring 7.3 on the richter scale hit the city of Kobe in 1995, claiming 6,400 victims.