Tokyo: A shallow 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck off Japan's northern island of Hokkaido on Monday, the US Geological Survey said.

The moderate quake hit at a depth of eight kilometres, 107 kilometres northeast of Shibetsu. USGS said there was a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

It comes after a powerful 6.6-magnitude quake in September rocked Hokkaido, triggering landslides, collapsing houses and killing more than 40.

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year.

But rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even strong tremors often do little damage.

On November 1, a powerful magnitude 6.2 quake struck the coastal Chilean city of Iquique after the Pacific Ring of Fire started to rumble. 

The Ring of Fire is a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes, as well as volcanic eruptions, occur. Japan and other countries like Philippines, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Bolivia, Ecuador are some of the countries that fall in the Pacific Ring of Fire.