The US Geological Survey said the quake struck Tuesday evening and had a preliminary magnitude of 6.3. It said it was centred 16 kilometers (10 miles) off the city of Nishinoomote on the island of Tanegashima in Kagoshima prefecture at a depth of 35 kilometers (22 miles).
Japan's meteorological agency said the quake caused moderately strong shaking in nearby areas.
Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone and tsunami-prone areas in the world.
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