Earthquake collapses buildings in southern Japan

An earthquake which brought down several buildings has struck southern Japan

A top government spokesman says no tsunami warning was issued after the quake which  measured at a preliminary magnitude of six point four

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency , the earthquake struck at 21:26 (1226 GMT) east of Kumamoto, on the island of Kyushu.

The Sendai and Genkai nuclear plants on Kyushu are reported to be operating as normal.

No casualties have yet been reported.

The meteorological agency said an aftershock measuring 5.7 was recorded 40 minutes after the earthquake

An official in Uki, a city in Kamamoto prefecture, said the walls of some houses had collapsed, in addition to part of the city hall’s ceiling.

Japanese state broadcaster NHK said a fire broke out at a building in Mashiki, another town in the prefecture.

Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said several buildings had collapsed but did not give further details.

Some train services were suspended as a precautionary measure.

Japan is regularly struck by earthquakes but stringent building codes mean that damage usually does not occur.

A magnitude 9 earthquake struck northeast Japan in March 2011, triggering tsunami waves in a double disaster that left more than 18,000 people dead or missing and led to meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.