At 21:26 on Apr. 14, an earthquake measuring a maximum of 7 on the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) seismic intensity scale (the highest possible level) occurred in Kumamoto Prefecture. The epicenter was the town of Mashiki in Kumamoto (15 km away from Kumamoto City, 100 km from Fukuoka City), at a depth of 11 km. This was the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Kyushu (since the JMA was established). A total of 95 aftershocks have been recorded between the first earthquake and 6:00 this morning (Apr. 15), many as strong as 6 on the JMA seismic scale. Nine deaths have been reported, and over 900 were injured (approx. 53 seriously). Collapsed buildings, damaged roads and fires have been reported in the area. At one point, 44,400 people took refuge in temporary shelters, at approximately 500 locations within Kumamoto Prefecture. Some areas are still without electricity and/or gas, and some are affected by broken water pipes. No tsunami warning was issued. There have been no reports of irregularities at any nuclear facilities in the area. Schools in Kumamoto are closed but most local buses are still running. Parts of Kumamoto Castle were damaged, including the roof and stone wall. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has mobilized police, firefighters and Self-Defense Forces troops for the rescue operation. Officials warn that the aftershocks may continue for up to two weeks. According to the JMA, the Kumamoto earthquake is the first intensity-7 earthquake since the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011. On Apr. 15, the JMA announced that the earthquake’s official English name is “The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake”.
For up-to-date earthquake information, please consult the JMA website. Foreign tourists in Japan can find advice on the Japanese National Tourist Information website.
JR Kyushu Shinkansen
Hakata ~ Kagoshima: Operation suspended, no plans to run again for now due to derailment.
*58 passengers were temporarily trapped on a Shin-Tamana ~ Kumamoto Shinkansen, but all are safe now.
Other JR Kyushu lines
• Kagoshima Honsen line:
Arao ~ Yatsushiro: Service temporarily suspended.
Hakata ~ Arao: Will resume service with limited number of trains.
Omuta ~ Arao: Operating since 6:35.
• Hohi Honsen line:
Kumamoto ~ Miyaji: Service temporarily suspended.
Oita ~ Bungo Taketa: Delays due to debris on the rails.
• Hisatsu line:
Yatsushiro ~ Yoshimatsu: Service temporarily suspended.
• Misumi line:
Uto ~ Misumi: Service temporarily suspended.
• Kyudai Honsen: Hita ~ Bungomori:
Running with delays and at reduced speed.
(Source: JR Kyushu website)
Service had already finished for the day by the time of the earthquake, and there was no damage to any runways or planes. But since some crew members were delayed, the following flights have been cancelled/delayed.
7:40 Kumamoto → Itami (ANA)
8:40 Kumamoto → Haneda (ANA)
7:35 Kumamoto → Haneda (Solaseed Air)
7:35 Kumamoto → Haneda (JAL) – 2-hour delay
(Source: Yahoo! Japan News – 4/15 8:31)
Kyushudo (between Ebino IC and Nankan IC): Closed
Kyushu Chuodo (between Mashiki TB and Kashima JCT): Closed
Minami Kyushu Expressway (between Hinagu IC and Yatsushiro JCT): Closed
Kyushu Chuodo (a national route) (between Oiketakayama IC and Mashiki tollgate): Closed
Minami Kyushudo (a national route) (between Tsunagi IC and Hinagu IC): Closed
(Source: JARTIC – 4/15 09:25)
Nishitetsu Highway Bus
All-day service cancelled on the following routes:
Fukuoka – Kumamoto
Fukuoka – Nobeoka
Fukuoka – Miyazaki
Fukuoka – Kagoshima (incl. night busses)
(Source: Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co. Ltd. 4/15 9:30 )
Footage showing the Kumamoto Asahi Broadcasting (KAB) office during the earthquake:
Please note: information accurate as of 10:00 on Apr. 15 (Fri.).