Published: Sun, September 09, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Death Toll from Powerful Earthquake in Northern Japan Rises

Death Toll from Powerful Earthquake in Northern Japan Rises

The quake mainly disrupted the power supply in Hokkaido, Tsai said, adding that tour groups might not be disrupted as much if electricity is restored promptly.

No abnormality has been confirmed in radiation levels around the plant, regulators said.

Rescuers were rushing to unearth survivors and restore power Thursday after a powerful quake jolted Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, buckling roads, knocking homes off their foundations and causing entire hillsides to collapse.

In the regional capital, Sapporo, lights and water were restored to many areas a day after the entire island saw power cut off. Bullet train services resumed and the city's airport at Chitose reopened. The company said it can not update information on the social media due to the blackout.

All households on Hokkaido were without power at one time on September 6, after the magnitude-6.7 quake struck at 3:08 a.m. and seriously damaged a crucial coal-fired thermal plant in Atsuma.

Japan, situated on the Ring of Fire arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that partly encircles the Pacific Basin, accounts for about 20 per cent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater. The utility conducted an emergency shutdown of all its fossil fuel-fired power plants after the quake. But Seko says the plan is now impossible due to damage.

At least 76 people were injured and 19 others were missing, NHK said, citing its own tally.

The ministry also said 376 hospitals were still without power and 82 were without water in the morning.

This item corrects the spelling of the plant.

The toll from an quake that rocked Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido rose to 18 on Friday, and in one small town two dozen people remained unaccounted for after an entire mountainside collapsed on their homes.

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Operator Hokkaido Electric Power reported no radiation irregularities at the plant, which has been shut since shortly after a massive 2011 quake, Mr Suga said.

Aerial footage showed slashes of brown earth on many heavily forested mountains, crushed homes and farm buildings and roads buried by avalanches of mud, logs and other debris. Reconstruction Minister Jiro Akama told reporters that five people were believed to be buried underneath of the landslide in the town's Yoshino district, where 40 people were being stranded, according to NHK television.

People gather to cook and serve to neighbors as a blackout continued in Sapporo on Thursday night. Power was knocked out across the island.

Toyota Motor Corp said it halted daytime operations at its subsidiary's transmission manufacturing plant in Tomakomai, southern Hokkaido, and made a decision to suspend nighttime operations as well, as it is unclear when power will return to normal.

"We're trying to do it faster, but it will likely take a week", Seko said.

Around 20,000 rescue workers, including police and members of the Self-Defence Forces were responding to the disaster, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said.

Domestic flights would resume Friday from Kansai, said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The nuclear site suffered a power outage, but officials said it was cooling its spent nuclear fuel safely. The plant has also shut down.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the major temblor jolted Hokkaido Prefecture at 3:08 a.m. local time on Thursday morning (1808 GMT Wednesday), with the epicenter located at a latitude of 42.7 degrees north and a longitude of 142.0 degrees east and at depth of 40 km.

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