The Japanese national broadcaster NHK is reporting that 125 people have been injured and about 20 are feared missing after a powerful quake triggered dozens of landslides in heavily forested mountains on the northern main island of Hokkaido.
The magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck southern Hokkaido early Thursday morning. Power was knocked out across the island.
The government said airports and many roads on the island were closed following the quake.
Officials said that 25,000 troops and other personnel were being dispatched to the area to help with rescue operations.
Japan’s minister for the economy, trade and industry Hiroshige Seko told reporters that efforts are underway to try to restore power in Hokkaido.
Nearly 3 million households over a widespread area are without electricity after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck southern Hokkaido at 3:08 a.m. Thursday (18:08 GMT Wednesday) at the depth of 40 kilometers (24 miles).
Seko said the government plans to use power from the area’s four hydroelectric plants as all the area’s fossil fuel power plants aren’t working.
Places like hospitals will get priority, he said, noting he hoped to get power back “within a few hours.”
Power is still out at the area’s Tomari nuclear plant, but backup diesel generators have kicked in so the reactors’ fuel is continuing to be kept cool, according to the government nuclear authorities. The plant has also shut down.
A powerful earthquake hit wide areas on Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido early Thursday, triggering landslides as well as causing the loss of power at nearly all of 3 million households and a nuclear power plant to go on a backup generator.
A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck southern Hokkaido at 3:08 a.m. Thursday (1808 GMT Wednesday) at the depth of 40 kilometers (24 miles), Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.
The quake’s epicenter was east of the city of Tomakomai. It also struck Hokkaido’s prefectural capital of Sapporo, with a population of 1.9 million.