KUMAMOTO--A magnitude-5.0 earthquake struck Kumamoto Prefecture in the early evening on Jan. 3 as many residents were returning from their New Year holidays, registering a maximum seismic intensity of a lower 6 on the Japanese scale of 7.

An intensity of lower 6 was recorded in Nagomi in the northwestern part of the prefecture bordering Fukuoka Prefecture when the quake struck at around 6:10 p.m.

The focus was about 10 kilometers below the surface, according to the Meteorological Agency.

A tsunami is unlikely to follow the quake, the agency added.

A lower 5 on the Japanese intensity scale was recorded in Kita Ward in the prefectural capital of Kumamoto, while a 4 was recorded in Arao, Tamana, Kikuchi and other municipalities in the prefecture, as well as Omuta, Yanagawa and Miyama in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Saga, Nagasaki, Oita and Miyazaki prefectures also reported an intensity of 3.

It was not immediately known whether the temblor caused any deaths or injuries.

The latest earthquake followed two major temblors in the central area of the prefecture in April 2016.

The first one on April 14 registered a magnitude 6.5, which was followed by a magnitude-7.3 earthquake two days later.

The quakes left 50 people dead due to the collapse of houses. An additional 140 people died while in evacuation.