The toll in the earthquake that struck the Japanese island of Hokkaido last week has climbed to 42, the country’s public broadcaster NHK reported on Monday.
The 6.7 magnitude earthquake, which struck on September 6, caused landslides that swept away homes and disrupted power supply to 5.3 million residents of Hokkaido. Toshiyuki Matsumori of Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the quake measured 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday visited Hokkaido to examine the extent of the damage, reported Kyodo News. As of Sunday evening, about 2,600 people were living in evacuation shelters, said Hokkaido authorities. At least 70 buildings have been reportedly destroyed in the aftermath.
Government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said that a team of 40,000 Self-Defence Force troops, police, firefighters, and other personnel were working on clean-up operations, reported Reuters. He confirmed that all missing residents have now been found.
While power supply was restored in Hokkaido, Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko urged residents and businesses to use 20% less energy to prevent blackouts. “It’s very important now for all residents, businesses, the government, and electricity suppliers to work together towards this goal of 20% energy-saving,” he said. However, Hokkaido’s largest thermal power plant, Tomato-Atsuma, is still under repair.
The government has asked manufacturers, supermarkets, convenience stores and amusement facilities in Hokkaido to cooperate by turning off some lights, said Seko, adding that there are no plans to implement rolling blackouts.
Streetcar and subway services in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, were being truncated to save electricity, reported NHK.
Car manufacturer Toyota said it would restart operations at its domestic assembly plants by Thursday, reported Reuters. The company will resume partial production from Tuesday at some plants, said a company spokesperson.
While public transport is slowly being restored, the distribution of goods is expected to improve after the resumption of freight train services on Sunday.