Japan earthquake kills 16 after 6.7 quake in Hokkaido triggers landslides and crushes homes
The death toll from a powerful earthquake that hit Hokkaido has doubled to at least 16, according to Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, with more than half the island’s 5.3 million residents still without power. Another 26 people were missing, disaster management authorities said. The 6.7-magnitude quake, which hit before dawn on Thursday, triggered landslides that buried houses and paralysed Hokkaido with widespread power and transport cuts.
The death toll had been put at eight overnight but broadcaster NHK cited Abe in reporting the new total soon after he held an emergency meeting early on Friday.
The island, a tourist destination known for its mountains, lakes and seafood, lost all power after the quake when Hokkaido Electric Power Co shut its fossil fuel-fired power plants as a precaution.
The utility had restored power to about 1.31 million of 2.95 million customers by early Friday, the economy, trade and industry ministry said. It could take at least a week to restore power fully, according to the industry minister Hiroshige Seko.