Powerful quake rocks Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido

Japan earthquake MAP Hokkaido

Japan earthquake MAP Hokkaido

Three reactors at the Tomari nuclear plant were offline, but they are running on backup generators after losing external power because of the island-wide blackouts that also caused power loss at all 2.9 million households and disrupted traffic, Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority said.

Japan is still recovering from the worst typhoon to hit the country in 25 years, which struck the western part of the country on Tuesday, claiming at least 11 lives and causing major damage to the region's main airport.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed officials to ascertain the extent of damage and extend a helping hand to those affected.

Multiple, large-scale landslides struck the sparsely populated countryside, which was also hit by the edge of a powerful typhoon that surged through Japan earlier this week.

"Now on bus to airport but significant delays with no power and some roads damaged".

The quake also caused strong shaking in the northern part of Honshu.

The natural disaster struck at about 3 a.m. and was centered about 17 miles east of the city of Tomakomai, with a depth of about 21 miles, the USGS said. The epicenter was located about 70 miles south of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido. Saving lives was the top priority, he said.

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According to the Associated Press, "Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters that the extensive power outage was caused by an emergency shutdown of the main thermal power plant that supply half of the electricity to all of Hokkaido". At least 20 other people were injured in nearby towns, though their conditions were not immediately known.

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

An aftershock measuring 5.3 rocked the area moments later and smaller aftershocks followed throughout the night. Two houses in Sapporo also collapsed.

Additionally, Japan Meteorological Agency officials told NHK that risks of aftershocks are substantial for as long as the next week.

Saturday marked the 95th anniversary of the Great Kanto quake, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area.

A number of houses were buried in the towns of Atsuma and Abira following the 3:08am (1.08am Thailand time) quake after mountain slopes collapsed, according to the prefectural government and firefighters.

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