TOKYO — A strong earthquake jolted an extensive area of Japan today, killing at least two people and injuring 53 others, police said.
The earthquake, which registered 6.6 on the Richter scale, shook much of the main island of Honshu shortly after 11 a.m.
The Meteorological Agency said the quake's epicenter was in the Pacific about 45 miles off Chiba, east of Tokyo, in an area of major earthquake activity. It reported four aftershocks.
Hardest-hit was Chiba prefecture, where police reported 2 people killed, 43 injured and 9 buildings destroyed or damaged. Police said a 32-year-old housewife was crushed to death under a huge ornamental stone lantern and a 29-year-old woman was buried under a wall.
The tremor destroyed or damaged 16 buildings throughout Japan and triggered three landslides, police said.