US offers assistance to Japan, after second quake in two days

The Obama administration on Friday offered assistance to Japan, after the country was rocked by a second powerful earthquake in two days.

State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the United States has not yet received any requests for aid, but it stands ready to assist if needed.

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“We stand ready to provide any and all assistance that the Japanese government may require,” Kirby told reporters in Washington. “Obviously, our thoughts and prayers go out to everybody affected by the earthquake, the second one as well.

“We're watching this as closely as we can.”

At 1:25 a.m. on Saturday morning, a magnitude-7.0 quake rocked the southern island of Kyushu, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The earthquake prompted a tsunami warning that was later lifted.   

Just a day earlier, a slightly weaker magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck the same island, killing at least nine people and sending thousands fleeing from their homes.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that multiple people are believed to be injured in Friday night’s quake, but full details are unlikely to become clear until the sun rises on Saturday morning.

Japan’s only working nuclear power plant is located on the Kyushu island, but NHK reported that officials have certified that the plant is functioning normally.