Powerful earthquake rocks Japan

Thousands of people in Japan are spending the night in evacuation centres after a powerful earthquake.

At least two people are feared dead, Kyodo news agency reports, with the toll likely to rise in the coming days.

Dozens of buildings have collapsed in several towns, trapping an unknown number of people beneath the rubble.

The 7.6-magnitude quake struck at around 16:10 local time (07:10 GMT) on Monday. Tsunami warnings were issued and later downgraded.

About 60 tremors have been recorded following the initial quake.

The full extent of the damage is unlikely to be clear until Tuesday morning, but major damage to infrastructure is evident.

Officials in Suzu City in Ishikawa prefecture said several houses and power poles collapsed, according to national broadcaster NHK.

Major highways were closed near the quake’s epicentre and more than 36,000 households were left without power, according to utilities provider Hokuriku Electric Power.

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