Quantcast
Connect with us

One killed, 32 missing after quake paralyzes Japan’s Hokkaido island

Published

on

At least one person was killed and 32 were missing, Japanese media reported, after a powerful earthquake paralyzed the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, triggering landslides and knocking out power to its 5.3 million residents.

Public broadcaster NHK reported the first confirmed fatality and said 120 people had also been injured after the 6.7-magnitude quake. The number missing had earlier been put at 19.

ADVERTISEMENT

Aerial footage showed dozens of landslides exposing barren hillsides near the town of Atsuma in southern Hokkaido, with mounds of reddish earth and fallen trees piled up at the edge of green fields. The collapsed remains of what appeared to be houses or barns were scattered about.

The entire island was without power after Hokkaido Electric Power Co (9509.T) said it conducted an emergency shutdown of all its fossil fuel-fired power plants following the quake.

The utility said it wasn’t clear when electricity would be restored to 2.95 million households. The trade and industry ministry told the utility to restart the coal-fired Tomato-Atsuma power plant within a few hours, Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko said.

All trains across the island were also halted.

Roof tiles and water could be seen on the floor at Hokkaido’s main airport, New Chitose Airport, which would be closed for at least Thursday. New Chitose is a major tourist gateway to the island, known for its mountains, lakes and abundant farmland and seafood, and more than 200 flights and 40,000 passengers would be affected, Kyodo News Agency said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The closure comes just a couple days after Kansai Airport, an important hub for companies exporting semiconductors near Osaka, in western Japan, was shut after it was hit by Typhoon Jebi. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said officials hoped to reopen Kansai Airport for domestic flights on Friday.

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

It registered a strong 6 on Japan’s 7-point earthquake scale.

ADVERTISEMENT

Abe arrived at his office before 6 a.m. and told reporters his government had set up a command center to coordinate relief and rescue. Sounding haggard, Abe said saving lives was his government’s top priority.

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

ADVERTISEMENT

Farming and tourism are two of the island’s biggest economic drivers, but there is some industry. Kirin Beer and Sapporo Beer both said factories were shut by the power outage, although they said no structural damage was found.

A fire broke out at a Mitsubishi Steel Mfg Co (5632.T) plant in the city of Muroran after the quake but was mostly extinguished with no injuries, a company official said.

A series of smaller shocks, including one with a magnitude of 5.4, followed the initial quake, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said. Agency official Toshiyuki Matsumori warned residents to take precautions for potential major aftershocks in coming days.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

A 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful ever recorded in Japan, struck on March 11, 2011, off the coast of the northern city of Sendai. It set off a tsunami that devastated communities along the Pacific coast and killed nearly 20,000 people.

The tsunami also damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, leading to a series of explosions and meltdowns in the world’s worst nuclear disaster for 25 years.

Saturday marked the 95th anniversary of the Great Kanto earthquake, 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reporting by William Mallard, Osamu Tsukimori, Aaron Sheldrick, Kaori Kaneko and Chang-Ran Kim; Writing by Malcolm Foster; Editing by Paul Tait


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

Published

on

Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Judge blocking release of Jeffrey Epstein records has ties to officials linked to Epstein: report

Published

on

On Saturday, the Miami Herald reported that a judge who blocked the release of grand jury material in the Jeffrey Epstein child sex abuse case has ties to three officials with a vested interest in the outcome of the lawsuits surrounding the scandal.

"Krista Marx, the Palm Beach chief judge who also heads a panel that polices judicial conduct, has potential conflicts of interest involving three prominent players embroiled in the Epstein sex-trafficking saga: State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who has been sued by the Palm Beach Post to release the grand jury records; Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, whose department’s favored treatment of Epstein while he was in the Palm Beach County jail is part of an ongoing state criminal investigation; and ex-State Attorney Barry Krischer, part of the same investigation in connection with his decision not to prosecute Epstein on child-sex charges," wrote Julie Brown, a reporter who has extensively covered the Epstein case.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

WATCH: Buffalo cops and firefighters cheer officers charged with assault as they leave the courthouse

Published

on

According to a report from both CNN and MSNBC, the two Buffalo police officers who were charged with second-degree assault after shoving a 75-year-old anti-police brutality protester to the ground where he sustained head injuries were greeted with applause after they were arraigned on Saturday morning.

MSNBC's Alex Witt noted that both officers were released without having to post bail.

According to ABC News, "Officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault during their video arraignments on Saturday and were released on their own recognizance. They both entered no guilty pleas and are expected back in court on July 20."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image