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Aftershocks are expected to continue for at least a week after a strong earthquake struck southern Japan, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office warned today.

At least nine people are reported to have been killed and more than 250 injured near Kumamoto city on the island of Kyushu.

At least 19 houses collapsed and 16,000 home were left without electricity. A further 38,000 had no gas.

Some train services were suspended as a precautionary measure.

Japan’s seismology office recorded the shaking at some places to be as intense as the huge magnitude nine earthquake that hit the country in 2011 which left more than 18,000 people dead or missing and triggered meltdown at he Fukushima nuclear plant.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in updated its travel advice: “A magnitude 6.5 earthquake occurred in Kumamoto prefecture causing loss of life, damage to infrastructure and disruption to transport networks. 

“If you are in or planning to visit the affected area please familiarise yourself with what to do in an earthquake and follow the advice of the local authorities.”

The quake struck at 9.26 pm local time yesterday followed by at least two aftershocks.