Quake halts all trains on Japan island

Quake halts all trains on Japan island

Quake halts all trains on Japan island

Japan is situated on the "Ring of Fire" arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that partly encircles the Pacific Basin and accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

"We are merely inconvenienced here", one Twitter user in Sapporo reported.

Around 3 million houses were left without power in Hokkaido after the quake caused thermal power plants in the prefecture to shut down.

The quake was the second disaster to hit Japan this week alone after a summer during which the country has been battered by deadly typhoons, flooding and a record heat wave.

Hokkaido Electric said 2.95 million homes had lost power after the quake but industry minister Hiroshige Seko said the government hopes to restart power "in several hours".

"Nationwide, they have been trying to bolster power systems by linking these fairly Balkanized domains, but it's not as easy as it sounds", said Andrew DeWit, professor of energy policy at Rikkyo University in Tokyo.

It posed no tsunami risk, the country's meteorological agency said.

Mountainsides collapsed in the town of Atsuma, crushing homes and farm buildings, and it is feared many people are trapped.

"Consecutive fault slips may have caused a strong shaking for a long time and triggered mudslides", he said.

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As many as 30 are feared buried beneath the earth and rubble of multiple large-scale landslides that struck sparsely populated countryside on Hokkaido after a magnitude 6.6 natural disaster.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said about 25,000 self-defense troops are being sent to Hokkaido, with several thousand planning to help in search-and-rescue missions.

The situation at utility Hokkaido Electric Power's (9509.T) three-reactor Tomari nuclear plant provided an uncomfortable, if comparatively brief, echo of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.

Police search missing persons at the site of a landslide after an quake in Atsuma town, Hokkaido, northern Japan.

Among retailers, convenience store operator Lawson Inc. closed about half of its more than 600 stores in Hokkaido. It said nearly 12 hours later power was restored to parts of Sapporo, Hokkaido's capital, and Asahikawa, its second-most populated city. 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.

"Only a few cartons of instant ramen were left", Mika Takeda, who lives in the town of Biei, said, according to the Associated Press.

"We send our deepest condolences and sincerest sympathies to those affected by the quake that struck the central-eastern part of Iburi region in Hokkaido", it said.

Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo.

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