Earthquake in Japan causes landslides, 10 people injured

A woman walks past a damaged building in Abira town, near Chitose, Hokkaido, northern Japan following a strong earthquake. (AP image)

A 6.7 magnitude earthquake ripped through northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, causing a landslide that hit several homes and snapped power supply on early Thursday morning.

Aerial footage from national broadcaster NHK showed a landslide along a ridge in rural town, Atsumi. 10 injured people have been taken to the hospital. One of them is reportedly serious.

The quake, which struck at 3:08 a.m. (1808 GMT on Wednesday) posed no tsunami risk, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said. The U.S. Geological Survey said it struck some 68 km (42 miles) southeast of Sapporo, Hokkaido’s main city.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that his government had set up a command centre to coordinate relief and rescue and that saving lives was the top priority.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the Tomari Nuclear Power Station suffered a power outage but was cooling its fuel rods safely with emergency power. Operator Hokkaido Electric Power Co reported no radiation irregularities at the plant, which has been shut since shortly after a massive 2011 earthquake, Suga told a news conference.

A fire broke out at a Mitsubishi Steel Mfg Co plant in the city of Nemuro but has largely been brought under control, NHK said, quoting local officials.

A series of smaller shocks, including one with a magnitude of 5.4, followed the initial temblor, the Meteorological Agency said. Agency official Toshiyuki Matsumori gave warnings of potential aftershocks in the coming days.

Shinkansen bullet trains were halted in some areas of Hokkaido, NHK said.

Earlier, heavy rains, landslides, floods and extreme heat waves were topped by Typhoon Jebi that entrapped Japan on Tuesday, killing nine people. Evacuation orders were issued for more than one million people as heavy and powerful rain submerged the western part of the country.

National broadcaster NHK reported that more than 300 people were also injured. Wind gusts were recorded of up to 208km/h in one part of Shikoku island, with forecasts upto 216km/h.

The typhoon overpowered the international airport and caused a tanker to blow up into a bridge.

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