Strong quake kills 9, injures more than 760 in Japan

A house collapses following the earthquake in Mashiki, near Kumamoto city, southern Japan, early Friday, April 15, 2016. Rescuers in southern Japan are searching for trapped residents in at least two dozen collapsed houses, after a powerful earthquake struck. (Tomoaki Ito/Kyodo News via AP) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT)

TOKYO (AP) — At least nine people were killed and 761 injured by a magnitude-6.5 earthquake Thursday night that knocked down houses and buckled roads in southern Japan, the government’s chief spokesman said.

Yoshihide Suga said he would visit the area Friday to assess the damage.

He said some 1,600 soldiers had been deployed, and TV reports showed some delivering blankets and adult diapers to the thousands of people who took shelter because their homes were wrecked or unsafe.

The worst damage was in the town of Mashiki, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) east of Kumamoto city on the island of Kyushu, said Kumamoto prefecture disaster management official Takayuki Matsushita.

The area is about 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) southwest of Tokyo.

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