Asia

Central Japan hit by powerful earthquake - in pictures

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged firm support to victims of an earthquake that destroyed scores of homes and injured at least 41 people in a popular ski resort on Sunday.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Nagano prefectural government in central Japan says the 6.2-magnitude quake destroyed more than 460 houses and other buildings - in addition to causing landslides in at least four areas. The worst damage was in the ski resort town of Hakuba.
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a shelter for those affected by the quake, which happened in the same mountainous area that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics. Although the destruction was worse than initially thought, there was widespread relief that there were no fatalities.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Abe said that the government is determined to support victims of the quake, including help with rebuilding houses. At least 34 homes collapsed near Hakuba.
Image copyright AP
Image caption In areas where the damage was not so severe, the most serious injuries were blows to the head or broken bones caused by falling furniture.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption In this part of Nagano prefecture north-west of Tokyo, taller buildings appeared to withstand the quake in contrast to to the toppled gravestones in this cemetery.
Image copyright EPA
Image caption As the clear-up moved into full swing on Monday, the priority of many residents in Hakuba was to cover parts of their damaged homes with plastic to protect them from snowfall which is forecast later in the week.
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Local experts said the construction of the mostly wooden houses, built to withstand heavy snowfall in the height of winter, helped to prevent more casualties. The emergency services also did their part by rescuing at least 20 people, including a two-year-old, from toppled homes.

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