TOKYO (Agencies): The Japanese government has thanked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for expressing condolences over a powerful earthquake and a series of strong aftershocks that struck Japan on New Year’s Day, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim had sent a message of sympathy to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida over the deadly earthquake to express condolences to victims and wounded people and over material losses caused by the disaster.

“Today, the KCNA conveyed a message from Secretary General Kim Jong Un to Prime Minister Kishida with condolences to the families and victims, wishes for a speedy recovery and restoration of a stable life. We receive words of condolences from different countries over the earthquake on the Noto Peninsula, and the government is grateful for this. We would like to thank Secretary General Kim Jong Un for his condolences,” Hayashi told a news conference.

On Monday afternoon, a powerful 7.6 magnitude earthquake, followed by a series of aftershocks, struck near the city of Suzu on the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture. The tremors also led to buildings collapsing and left more than 32,000 households without power, although no nuclear power plant failures were registered. The earthquake became the most powerful for the Noto Peninsula region since records began in 1885.

At least 110 people died, while 516 more have been injured as a result of the disaster. A total of 211 people reportedly remain missing. The earthquake also partly or completely destroyed over 365 houses and forced more than 31,400 people to evacuate from the affected areas.

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