Earthquake rocks northern Japan


A strong earthquake jolted northern Japan early today, injuring at least 99 people, trapping hundreds in halted trains and affecting production at some high-tech factories.

The quake, which struck at 00:26 am local time had a preliminary magnitude of 6.8, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It is the latest in a series to hit the sparsely populated, mountainous region.

A National Police Agency official said 99 people were injured, 17 seriously. Many were hurt in falls or suffered cuts from broken glass.

Officials have warned of possible landslides in the wake of the earthquake.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas. The country accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.