A strong earthquake hits a wide area of Hokkaido on Thursday night, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries.
Four people were injured and hundreds of others left stranded in train carriages.
The quake hit the southwestern part of Hokkaido at 9:22 p.m. at a depth of about 30 kilometers in the Iburi area and measured magnitude 5.8, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. No tsunami alert was issued, it said.
Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference that no reports of major damage had been confirmed but an emergency task force had been set up at the Prime Minister’s Office.
He said no irregularities were observed at the area’s nuclear plants.
The same area was hit by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in September which triggered dozens of landslides and left more than 40 people dead. Dozens more people were injured.
Trains were temporarily stopped in the city of Sapporo, and that impacts the crowds of helpless commuters. It is common for airports and railways to stop operations until runways and tracks can be checked.