Death Toll from Powerful Earthquake in Northern Japan Rises

Japan earthquake map

Residents in Sapporo were shaken from their beds when the magnitude 6.7 quake struck southern Hokkaido at 3:08 a.m.

Almost all of the island's 3 million households were left without power.

Flights resumed from midday at Hokkaido's main airport, New Chitose, with more flights planned for the afternoon, airline officials said.

The Fukushima incident occurred after an quake off the coast of Tōhoku prefecture on Honshu, Japan's largest island, caused a tsunami.

At least seven people are now confirmed dead as a result of Thursday's powerful 6.7-magnitude quake that struck Japan's northern Hokkaido island.

People look at collapsed buildings in Atsuma.

Officials told NHK at least five people were buried in the rubble.

After the Japan Football Associated (JFA) were rapidly able to establish that all the players and staff were safe, they took a decision to call the game off due to the situation of the stricken area.

About 30 people are missing and some 1,900 people are taking shelter at evacuation centers set up at more than 400 locations, according to police, rescuers and local authorities.

One of the biggest issues right now is the mudslide which buried countless homes. Some residents described awakening to find their next-door neighbors gone.

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One resident said: "It was horrendous".

The quake triggered landslides that crushed homes in Atsuma.

The Tomari Nuclear Power Station suffered a power outage but was cooling its fuel rods safely with emergency power, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

It knocked out power to the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant and the tsunami swamped diesel generators placed low in reactor buildings, leading to a series of explosions and meltdowns in the world's worst nuclear disaster for 25 years.

In Atsuma, it registered a 7 on Japan's 7-point quake intensity scale, the agency said, revising an earlier measurement. But it still wreaked havoc across much of the relatively sparsely inhabited island.

Soil liquefaction also damaged roads, making many of them unpassable.

The quake is the latest in a string of natural disasters to batter Japan after typhoons, flooding and a record-breaking heatwave within the past two months. The quake came on the heels of a typhoon that wreaked havoc in western Japan, leaving the main airport near Osaka and Kobe closed after a tanker rammed a bridge connecting the facility to the mainland. The summer also brought devastating floods and landslides from torrential rains in Hiroshima and deadly hot temperatures across the country.

Aerial views showed dozens of landslides in the surrounding area, with practically every mountainside a raw slash of brown amid deep green forest.

Toyota Motor Corp's (7203.T) Tomakomai factory, which makes transmissions and other parts, said operations remained suspended indefinitely until power was restored, a spokesman said. His voice sounding haggard, Abe said saving lives was his government's top priority.

"We urge residents in areas hit by strong tremors to heed information on television and radio and act by helping each other", Suga told a press conference.

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