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Okinawans spared in latest earthquakes to hit mainland

Date Posted: 2005-03-25

A Sunday earthquake that rocked the Fukuoka area of Kyushu, killing one and injuring more than 500 did not hurt any members of the local Okinawa community.

“It was kind of terrifying,” said Hiroshi Iriomote, head of the Fukuoka Okinawan Association. “All kinds of wall display goods fell down and broke, but nobody was injured.” The quake registered 7.0 on the Richter Scale, and several Monday aftershocks were just under five.

Nobody believed such an earthquake could rattle the southernmost main Japanese Island. “Surely? An earthquake in Fukuoka? Peopla re still worried aobut what comes next,” said Hiroshi, 55. He added that the local Okinawa “Washita shop” saw awamori bottles broken, and the building cracked.

One local official said “this earthquake is just a sign of a big earthquake yet to come. It will happen somewhere between 2030~2050, and we better think about what’s going to happen.”

While Okinawans survived without incident, they expressed surprise at Fukuoka’s being hit, noting there’s been no earthquake in the region in 107 years. Everybody thought that “our area would be safe from earthquakes, but it was not,” Hiroshj added.

There are more than 500 Okinawans living in the Fukuoka area, and they keep track of each other. Most belong to the Okinawa Association.

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