Magnitude 5.2 quake strikes near Tokyo, causes minor damage

A strong earthquake struck the greater Tokyo region early Thursday. Local authorities say seven people have been injured. There was no tsunami. Some elevators in a high-rise condominium in Tokyo were stopped for up to five hours.

A strong earthquake struck the southern part of Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, at around 4:16 a.m. on Thursday.

They estimate its magnitude at 5.2 and the focus at a depth of 40 kilometers.

Tremors of upper 5 on the Japanese seismic scale from zero to 7 were recorded in Kisarazu City in the prefecture. Lower 5 jolts were logged in Kimitsu City.

At a bar in Kisarazu, liquor bottles and glasses fell from their shelves and shattered. Cracks were also found on asphalt streets, and some block walls collapsed after the quake.

Officials from local fire departments and municipalities say seven people in the prefectures of Chiba and Kanagawa were slightly injured. Some of them fell at home, and one was hit on the head by a falling light.

Tokyo's Toyosu area facing Tokyo Bay is home to many high-rise buildings. Residents told NHK that the earthquake stopped elevators in at least five such buildings in the area. At a 52-story condominium, all four elevators for residents on the upper floors were halted for about 5 hours.

Railroad operators in the greater Tokyo region temporarily suspended several trains. Some operations were delayed to allow for safety checks.

Officials at Haneda and Narita airports say there have been no quake-related problems or delays for domestic and international services.

The officials are urging people in quake-hit areas to pay close attention to seismic activities.

Agency official Kamaya Noriko said the risk of falling rocks and landslides is rising in areas hit by strong tremors.

She warned a quake as powerful as upper 5 could strike over the next week in the areas where major jolts were recorded.

Another expert also warns that jolts of similar scale to the magnitude 5.2 earthquake in Chiba Prefecture that struck early Thursday may occur for about a week.

Professor Satake Kenji at the University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute spoke to NHK.

Satake pointed out that the Pacific Plate from the east and the Philippine Sea Plate from the south move toward the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo. He said the region tends to see frequent seismic activity as a result.

Satake said he believes that the quake this time was likely triggered by movement of the Philippine Sea Plate, and such quakes often occur in the region.

The professor said tremors of similar intensity could hit the Kanto region for about a week.

He called on residents to remain on alert for possible strong earthquakes.