Japan 2016 Quake 1
Firefighters check a collapsed house after an earthquake in Mashiki town, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 15, 2016. Reuters/Kyodo

Four people died, while about 400 people were injured when a magnitude 6 earthquake shook Japan on Thursday. The temblor hit 11 kilometres east of Kumamoto Prefecture at 9:26 pm, according to the US Geological Survey.

However, the Japan Meteorological Agency measured it at a maximum 7 on its seismic scale. But it did not issue any tsunami warning. Reuters reports that the country’s nuclear regulator says that the power plants are safe. The Nuclear Regulation Authority and Kyushu Electric Power Co, operator of the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture ad Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, say no abnormalities were found.

Initial reports say there were two dead. One of the victims was a person who was killed by a collapsing building, while the second was killed by a fire that blazed after the temblor. However, Japan Today reports that the number of confirmed dead has risen to four. The victims are a man in his 60s, a woman in her 50s, a man in his 20s and a woman in her 60s. Besides the four, there are others who remain unconscious or lack vital signs.

There were damages to several buildings. About 20 houses in and around Mashiki collapsed and trapped people inside, while fires broke. On early Friday morning, an eight-month-old baby was rescued with no injuries from a collapsed house.

The 400 injured are being treated at five hospitals in Kumamoto Prefecture. Eight people are reported missing, while about 23,000 people took shelter at 350 sites in the prefecture.

Aftershocks were recorded, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4, another on the upper 6 and a 5.7 shortly after 10 pm. After the quake, bullet train services on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line were temporarily suspended within Kyushu.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government is doing its utmost to pursue rescue and life-saving operations throughout the night.