(image: Google Maps)

Japan Earthquake Topples Homes in Olympic Ski Resort

Hakuba, Japan – A strong earthquake struck central Japan on Saturday, collapsing homes in the ski resort villages surrounding the 1998 Olympic Winter Games city of Nagano.

Japan’s meteorological agency reported the magnitude 6.7 tremblor centered in Nagano Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, 125 miles northwest of Tokyo, that struck at 10:08 p.m. local time on Saturday. Initial reports indicate 39 people are injured, seven of whom seriously. Most of the injured were trapped in 43 homes in the ski resort town of Hakuba that were leveled by the quake. No deaths have thus far been reported.

(image: Google Maps)
(image: Google Maps)

Landslides caused by the earthquake cut off water and power to an estimated 500 villagers in the region and shut down at least one rail line after slide debris blocked railroad tracks.

The five ski areas surrounding Hakuba, population 9,000, were the main venue for alpine skiing during the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.

The Nagano region is also home to three nuclear power plants. All have remained idle since the 2011 earthquake that caused a meltdown at the Dai-ichi plant in Fukushima. No significant damage was reported to nuclear reactors from Saturday evening’s quake.

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