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Update: Strong earthquake kills at least nine, injures over 800 in southern Japan

An earthquake with a magnitude of approximately 6.5 has killed at least nine people and injured over 800 in southern Japan, according to officials.

A magnitude 6.5 earthquake has killed at least nine people and injured over 800 in southern Japan, according to the government’s chief spokesman.

The earthquake hit near the city of Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu at 9:26 p.m. Thursday. Several aftershocks followed.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that 19 houses had collapsed and an unknown number of people were still trapped under buildings.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported there are many reports of fires and many residents are without electricity or gas.

In a press briefing, Suga confirmed that the earthquake caused no problems at any nuclear plant. He also stated that 1,600 soldiers had been deployed to the areas of damage.

 Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries (Image: AP)
Japan is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries (Image: AP)
Local residents reported buildings violently shaking during the quake (Image: Reuters)
Local residents reported buildings violently shaking during the quake (Image: Reuters)
The quake also caused part of the Kumamoto Castle wall to collapse (Image: AP)
The quake also caused part of the Kumamoto Castle wall to collapse (Image: AP)
Residents wrap themselves in blankets as they take shelter outside the town hall of Mashiki (Image: AP)
Residents take shelter outside the town hall of Mashiki (Image: AP)

(Image: AFP Photo / JIJI Press)

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