Japanese rescue workers with bulldozers and sniffer dogs scrabbled through the mud Friday to find survivors from a landslide that buried houses after a powerful quake, as the death toll rose to 18.
Japan's industry ministry added the Tomato-Atsuma plant, operated by Hokkaido Electric Power Co and located in the southern part of the island, has been damaged, without specifying the nature of the damage.
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.
After an quake knocked out power to 5.3 million people this week, Hokkaido Electric expects to restore service to majority by the end of Friday, but experts say the island-wide outage highlights fundamental flaws in Japan's power grid. "All the traffic lights are out and there's no power at work".
And the national meteorological agency warned that more bad weather could be on the way for Hokkaido, urging people to be vigilant for landslides, high tides and heavy rain. In Atsuma, it registered a 7 on Japan's 7-point quake intensity scale, the agency said, revising an earlier measurement. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS.
Moreover, Hokkaido's main airport, New Chitose Airport, was shut in the aftermath of the quake, which struck nearby. Roof tiles and water could be seen on the terminal floors. The government will send 20,000 more to the affected sites, he said.
Transport services were gradually coming back on line with bullet trains expected to resume operations later Friday morning and the main airport in Sapporo beginning to process passengers after canceling all flights the day before.
Jebi, the strongest typhoon to hit the country in 25 years, killed at least 10 people and caused widespread damage and disruption. That was followed by a heat wave that reached a record 41.1 Celsius and led to the deaths of at least 80 people.
However, manufacturers were still being affected by power outages.
By the afternoon, backhoes and other earth-moving equipment in Atsuma had begun clearing debris.
Japan sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where numerous world's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are recorded.
Northeast Japan was hit by a 9 magnitude quake on March 11, 2011, that triggered a tsunami that killed almost 20,000 people and led to meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
In the small, rural town of Atsuma, more than 20 people remained missing on Friday after landslides wrecked and buried houses.
In the aftermath of Japan's March 2011 disaster, when an quake and tsunami caused nuclear meltdowns and widespread power outages, the government mandated a boost in renewable energy supplies, opened up a roughly $70 billion retail electricity market to competition and created a grid oversight company to address these issues.
Saturday marked the 95th anniversary of the Great Kanto quake, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area. Seismologists have said another such quake could strike the city at any time.
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