TOKYO – A magnitude-5.8 earthquake Monday rocked northern Japan (search) near where the deadliest earthquake to strike the country in years hit last month. No injuries were immediately reported.
The quake, which hit at 11:16 a.m., appeared to be an aftershock to last month's magnitude-6.8 temblor. It was centered close to the earth's surface in the Chuetsu (search) area of Niigata prefecture, the Meteorological Agency said.
The quake posed no danger of a seismic tidal wave, the agency said.
Takeshi Minagawa, an official at the town hall in Nakanoshima (search), where the quake was the strongest, said he felt 10 seconds of vertical shaking.
He said this aftershock felt stronger than others, but there were no reports of damage and nothing fell off his office shelves or tables.
The town closed off several roads to confirm they were safe to use after the quake, Minagawa said.
The Oct. 23 quake that struck Niigata and aftershocks in the days that followed killed 39 people and injured more than 2,000. It was the deadliest quake to hit Japan since 1995, when a magnitude-7.2 quake killed 6,000 people in the western city of Kobe.
Thousands of people in the area are still living in temporary public shelters or are camped out in tents and cars because their homes are severely damaged. Many also fear aftershocks could set off landslides or cause already-damaged buildings to collapse.
Located along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries. A magnitude 5 earthquake can cause damage to homes if it occurs in a residential area.