Powerful Quake Rocks Hokkaido, Killing at Least 5

Society Lifestyle

Sapporo, Sept. 6 (Jiji Press)--A powerful earthquake rocked Hokkaido in the small hours of Thursday, killing at least five people and leaving four others with no vital signs, while causing blackouts across the northernmost Japan prefecture, according to local authorities.

The earthquake measured up to the highest level of 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, revising its initial announcement of the maximum reading at upper 6, the second-highest level.

According to the Hokkaido government, 29 people were unaccounted for. More than 360 people were injured in Hokkaido, with its capital, Sapporo, suffering damage from soil liquefaction, as well as building collapses, local authorities said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the death toll from the quake has risen to nine.

The earthquake triggered massive landslides at five places in the town of Atsuma, including the Yoshino district, town government officials said. A total of 21,000 Self-Defense Forces troops, police officers and others were mobilized in the search for missing people in the town.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Hokkaidō earthquake disaster Jiji Press