Aftershocks rattle southwestern Japan after quake kills nine

Aftershocks rattled southwestern Japan on Friday after a strong quake the night before killed nine people, injured at least 1,000 and cut power and water across the region, forcing the temporary shutdown of several auto and electronics factories.

By afternoon, more than 130 aftershocks had hit the area around the city of Kumamoto in the wake of the initial 6.4 magnitude quake the night before. Officials said the frequency was tapering off but the risk of further strong aftershocks will remain for about a week.

While the magnitude of Thursday’s quake was much lower than that of the 9.0 March 11, 2011 quake that touched off a massive tsunami and nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima, the intensity was similar because it struck on land and at a much shallower depth.

“We managed to huddle into a space, that’s why we were saved,” one man told NHK national television after he and his family were rescued from their collapsed house two hours after the quake hit. “We’re all safe, that’s what counts.”

More than 44,000 people initially fled to schools and community centers, some spending the night outside after the first quake hit around 9:30 p.m.