A powerful earthquake has hit northern Japan, killing at least three people and injuring up to 100 others.
The 7.2 magnitude quake was followed by dozens of aftershocks. With several people unaccounted for, casualty figures could rise.
Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas. The government has set up an emergency response centre.
Stressing the priority was saving lives, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said:
“We are doing the best we can,”
The tremor was centred in the sparsely populated area of Iwate but buildings also shook faintly in Tokyo.
Roads were demolished by the quake. Among those killed, one man was hit by falling rocks at a dam construction side and another was caught in a landslide.
Water containing a small amount of radiation leaked within a nuclear power facility. The operator said there had been no impact on the environment.