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Japan earthquake destroys at least 19 houses; people still trapped in buildings

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TOKYO — At least 19 houses collapsed after an earthquake struck southern Japan late Thursday, the country’s National Police Agency said.

An unknown number of people were still trapped under collapsed buildings Thursday night, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-6.2 quake struck near Ueki, Japan. Several smaller aftershocks occurred shortly afterward.

The National Police Agency reported 12 injuries. Several fires also broke out in the town of Mashiki, Japanese broadcaster NHK said.

Gen Aoki, director of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s earthquake division, warned that more aftershocks could occur over the next week.