Magnitude 6.6 Earthquake Strikes Northern Japan Near Major City

Magnitude 6.6 Earthquake Strikes Northern Japan Near Major City

A police officer controls the traffic during a blackout following a strong natural disaster in Sapporo, northern Japan early Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

The Japan NewsA powerful quake struck Hokkaido early Thursday, causing blackouts in Sapporo and other areas and sending items tumbling off shelves.

The quake, which struck at 3.08am (6.08pm GMT on Wednesday) had a magnitude of 6.7, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

Photos from Sapporo, Hokkaido's main city on the western part of the island, showed huge cracks in the street and subsided houses. The quake set off a series of massive tsunami that devastated a wide swathe of the Pacific coastline and killed almost 20,000. He did not give details.

At least 120 people are hurt and about 20 missing, NHK reported, with flights and public transport across the region brought to a standstill. Some of the 40 people stranded there were airlifted to safer grounds, NHK said.

In the town of Atsuma, a massive landslide on a mountain crushed houses below.

Many landslides sparked by the quake had covered houses and blocked roads. In Sapporo, a mudslide on a road left several cars half buried.

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The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Hokkaido Electric Power Co.'s Tomari nuclear power plant lost an external power source, with a spent fuel pool of its Nos.

Local news has reported a blackout across a wide area in Hokkaido. Independently owned power generators were assisting.

Utility officials are starting up hydroelectric plants to help restart the main thermal plant, Seko said, adding that he to get power back "within a few hours".

In the meantime, authorities sent power-generator vehicles to hospitals so enable them to treat emergency patients, he said. To the north, in the scenic town of Biei, residents lined up outside of supermarkets and convenience stores, quickly clearing shelves of water, toilet paper and food.

"The government will work in unison towards reconstruction while giving the top priority to saving human lives", Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. The one local gas station was limiting customers to only 20 liters (5 gallons) of gas, she said.

NHK footage showed a crumbled brick wall and broken glass in a home, and quoted police as saying some people were trapped in collapsed structures.

Abe arrived at his office before 6am and told reporters his government had set up a command centre to coordinate relief and rescue.

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