6.2 quake hits eastern Japan
A strong 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit eastern Japan yesterday, the US Geological Survey said, but there were no immediate reports of damage. The quake, at a depth of 44 kilometres (27 miles), struck shortly after 6:42 am (2142 GMT) near the northeast coast of the main Honshu island, some 350 kilometres from Tokyo. No tsunami warning was issued. Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year, but rigid building codes and their strict enforcement mean even strong tremors often do little damage. A massive undersea quake however that hit in March 2011 sent a tsunami barrelling into Japan’s northeast coast, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing, and sending three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Woman set on fire in Japan restaurant
A man set a woman on fire following an argument in a restaurant in Japan, local media reported yesterday, in a rare act of violence in the country. The 52-year-old Iranian man was seen pouring liquid over his 36-year-old Filipina girlfriend before setting her alight at the eatery in Ibaraki prefecture, north of Tokyo, on Friday, reports cited police as saying. Workers at the restaurant called an ambulance, saying: “People are burning.” The couple was taken to hospital with severe burns and both remain unconscious, public broadcaster NHK said. There were several customers inside the restaurant at the time of the incident, but no one else was injured, the reports said. Police are treating the case as attempted murder. The man and woman had been advised by police to stay away from each following a dispute involving their child, Kyodo News reported.
China ships sail near disputed islands: Japan
Chinese coast guard vessels sailed into territorial waters around disputed islands in the East China Sea yesterday, Japan’s coast guard said, marking the second such incident in a week. The four ships entered the waters surrounding the island chain, controlled by Japan and known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in China, at around 10:30 am (0130 GMT) and left within two hours, according to the coast guard. A similar incident last Sunday prompted Tokyo to lodge a complaint with China’s foreign ministry through its embassy in Beijing, saying the uninhabited islets are “an inherent territory of Japan”. Japan has made dozens of protests through diplomatic channels this year over what it says have been more than 30 days of intrusions by Chinese vessels in the contested waters. The two countries have been locked in a long-running dispute over the islands, which are believed to harbour vast natural resources below their seabed, with China claiming them as its own.Beijing is also involved in maritime disputes in the South China Sea. It asserts sovereignty over most of the area despite rival partial claims by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.