Earthquake in Japan on September 06 2018 05:10 AM (UTC).
THE biggest coal power station on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, hit by a devastating earthquake last week, will take weeks longer than thought to restart, a government minister said on Tuesday. Clean-up operations continued after the magnitude 6.7 quake on Thursday, which left 44 people dead, knocked out power and damaged the only oil refinery on an island the size of Austria with a population of about 5.3 million. Power shortages are hampering efforts to clear debris and restart factories and the government is calling on residents and businesses to reduce their consumption by about 20 percent. Fully restarting Hokkaido Electric Power's <9509.T> main power plant, the Tomato-Atsuma coal power station, will take more than a month, industry minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters. Previously he said it would take at least a week to restart. Supplies will be tight until Friday, when the 200-megawatt Kyogoku No.2 pumped hydro-electric power unit is expected to come back online, Seko said. Rolling blackouts may have to be imposed from Thursday if supplies are not enough to meet projected demand, he added. The power outage on Hokkaido was the worst to hit Japan since the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and has exposed flaws in Japan's electricity grid. Supplies have been restored to almost all of Hokkaido's 2.95 million power customers, Seko said. All three units have sustained damage at the Tomato-Atsuma power plant, which normally supplies about half the island's electricity. The plant's 350-megawatt (MW) No.1 unit is expected to start as early as the end of September, with the 600-MW No.2 unit not due back in operation until the middle of October at the earliest and the 700 MW No.4 unit only in November, Seko told reporters. To help ease tight supplies, Hokkaido Electric has moved forward plans for restarting the 200-MW Kyogoku No.1 pumped hydro unit to Sept. 21, its spokesman told Reuters. Idemitsu Kosan's <5019.T> 150,000 barrels per day Hokkaido refinery sustained some damage to its refining facility from the quake and refining operations are still shut, the trade ministry said. An Idemitsu Kosan company spokesman in Tokyo said preliminary checks indicated no major damage to the refinery and the company was preparing to restart the facility. He could not say when operations would resume. Land product shipments of gasoline, kerosene and diesel from the refinery returned to normal on Tuesday, the company said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the quake-hit northern region of Hokkaido Sunday as officials confirmed more deaths, bringing the toll to 42. Abe toured the city and commercial hub of Sapporo, where Thursday's 6.6-magnitude jolt has left houses tilted and roads cracked. He also visited hard-hit Atsuma, a small rural town, which has seen most of the deaths caused by the quake. A cluster of dwellings in the town were wrecked when a hillside collapsed from the force of the quake, creating deep brown scars in the landscape. After visiting local political leaders and residents at shelters, Abe quickly returned to Tokyo to hold a cabinet meeting where he said the government will release 540 million yen ($4.9 million) from a reserve fund for the disaster. "We must create a framework in which the affected municipalities can... take emergency measures and rebuild themselves," Abe said during the Cabinet meeting. Abe also reported that the death toll rose to 42, according to local media including national broadcaster NHK and Jiji Press. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga separately told local media that one person remained missing, Jiji Press said. The Hokkaido government however said the death toll stood at 39 as of Sunday evening, with one person unaccounted for. Abe visited the area as search-and-rescue operations continue around the clock to pull more bodies. "There is on-and-off rain at Atsuma. The work is continuing to look for the missing persons," a regional disaster management official told AFP. Abe said the central government has dispatched some 40,000 rescue workers, including Self-Defense Forces, to look for the missing with the aid of bulldozers, sniffer dogs and helicopters. All three million households in Hokkaido lost power when Thursday's quake damaged a thermal plant supplying electricity to the region. Power has been restored to nearly all homes but officials are asking local residents and businesses to save energy, particularly after the weekend, as electricity supplies remain unstable. The quake was the latest in a string of natural disasters to batter the island nation. Western parts of the country are still recovering from the most powerful typhoon to strike Japan in a quarter of a century, which claimed 11 lives and shut down the main regional airport.
The death toll from a powerful quake that triggered landslides in northern Japan rose to 35 on Saturday, as tens of thousands of rescue workers raked through the mud for survivors. The majority of the dead are from the small rural town of Atsuma, where a cluster of dwellings were wrecked when a hillside collapsed from the force of the 6.6-magnitude quake, causing deep brown scars in the landscape. Public broadcaster NHK said 35 were dead, with around five people still unaccounted for in the town. More than 600 sustained minor injuries, according to the Hokkaido island local government. "We never had landslides here," said Akira Matsushita who lost his brother in Atsuma. "I couldn't believe until I saw it with my own eyes," he told TV Asahi. "When I saw it, I knew no-one could survive." Some 40,000 rescue workers, including Self-Defense Forces drafted in specially, were searching for survivors with the aid of bulldozers, sniffer dogs and 75 helicopters, according to the top government spokesman. "They're doing their best around the clock," Yoshihide Suga told reporters. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will meet quake survivors in Hokkaido on Sunday, according to Jiji Press. All three million households in Hokkaido lost power when Thursday's quake damaged a thermal plant supplying electricity to the region, but Abe said power was mostly restored. "Thanks to hard work to boost power supply throughout the night, the number of households without power has declined to 20,000," he told a cabinet meeting. Abe said the government would release emergency funds to deliver food, water and fuel needed for power generators at hospitals. A total of 31,000 households still have no water and around 16,000 people have evacuated to shelters. The earthquake also collapsed a handful of houses and walls in the main regional city of Sapporo but considering the strength of the quake, the death toll was relatively light, with the majority of victims coming from the landslide in Atsuma. International flights at the main airport in Sapporo resumed operations on Saturday, while bullet trains began service the day before. The quake was the latest in a string of natural disasters to batter the country. Western parts of the country are still recovering from the most powerful typhoon to strike Japan in a quarter of a century, which claimed 11 lives and shut down the main regional airport. Japan sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where many of the world's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are recorded.
The toll from an earthquake that rocked Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido rose to 18 on Friday, and in one small town two dozen people remained unaccounted for after an entire mountainside collapsed on their homes. The region was slowly restoring transport links and power, with lights back in about half of the homes on the island after a day of region-wide blackouts. Officials said they hoped to have the generating capacity close to normal by the weekend, though full repairs to Hokkaido's main power plant could take up to a week. Rescuers were using search dogs, backhoes and shovels as they dug through tons of mud and debris from the landslides triggered by the magnitude 6.7 quake that struck before dawn Thursday. After more than a day of digging there were no reports of survivors being pulled from their crushed homes in the outskirts of the town of Atsuma, not far from the quake's epicenter. There were scant signs of damage inside Atsuma itself, a seaside community of about 4,600 that advertises itself as a destination for surfing and a great lifestyle. But by late Friday, the power still had not been restored and stores were closed. "There are no supplies, so the shop simply cannot function. It's tough," said Yasuhiro Kurosaki, a young father whose wife was cradling their infant son outside the small supermarket owned by his father. Shelves inside the darkened shop were bare aside from a few boxes of potato chips. Most residents sought meals, water and shelter at the local social services office. Farther inland, unharvested rice fields stretched before a long expanse of hillside that had collapsed all at once, bringing earth and timber down on homes that had been tucked along the edge of the mountain. Of the 18 people confirmed or presumed dead, 14 were from Atsuma. In the regional capital, Sapporo, lights and water were restored to many areas a day after the entire island saw power cut off. Bullet train services resumed and the city's airport at Chitose reopened. Some parts of the city were severely damaged, with houses atilt and roads crumbled or sunken. A mudslide left several cars half buried, and the ground subsided in some areas, leaving drainpipes and manhole covers protruding by more than a meter (yard) in some places. "This is shocking. I was always walking on this street and I had never imagined this road could collapse in such a way," said resident Noriyuki Sumi. "But, if you think positively, imagine if I was walking here when this took place. I might have lost my life. So, I try to think I am lucky in this unfortunate situation." Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said it would take at least a week to fully restore power to all communities due to damage at a thermal power plant at Tomato-Atsuma that supplies half of Hokkaido's electricity. "We're trying to do it faster, but it will likely take a week," Seko said. He urged residents to conserve power.Japan has had a string of natural disasters in recent months. The quake came on the heels of a typhoon that lifted heavy trucks off their wheels and triggered major flooding in western Japan, and damaged the main airport near Osaka and Kobe. The summer also brought devastating floods and landslides from torrential rains in Hiroshima and deadly hot temperatures across the country.
The death toll from a powerful earthquake that rattled the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido doubled to at least 16, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. Friday, with more than half the island's 5.3 million residents still without power. The 6.7 magnitude quake, which hit before dawn Thursday, triggered landslides that buried houses and paralyzed Hokkaido with widespread power and transport cuts. The death toll had been at eight overnight, but broadcaster NHK cited Abe in reporting the new total soon after he held an emergency meeting early Friday. Another 26 people were missing, disaster management authorities said. The island, a tourist destination about the size of Austria known for its mountains, lakes and seafood, lost all power after the quake when Hokkaido Electric Power Co. shut its fossil fuel-fired power plants as a precaution. The utility had restored power to about 1.31 million of 2.95 million customers by early Friday, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said. It could take at least a week to restore power fully, Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko has said. The quake was the second disaster to hit Japan this week, after a summer during which the country has been battered by deadly typhoons, flooding and a record heat wave. Kansai International Airport has been shut since Typhoon Jebi ripped through Osaka on Tuesday, although some domestic flights operated by Japan Airlines (JAL) and ANA's low-cost carrier Peach Aviation resumed Friday, the carriers said. At Hokkaido's main airport, New Chitose, JAL was preparing to restart some flights late Friday morning, a spokesman said. ANA canceled all morning flights but would resume operations as normal in the afternoon, a spokesman said. The Hokkaido Railway Company planned to resume bullet train operations at midday. It was also trying to resume other train services on Friday afternoon, a spokesman said. However, manufacturers were still being affected by power outages. Operations at Toyota Motor Corp.'s Tomakomai factory, which makes transmissions and other parts, will remain suspended until power is restored, a spokesman said. Toppan Printing's operations at a plant in Chitose, which makes food packages, will remain suspended until it regains power, a spokesman said. Cultural events were also affected, with a soccer friendly between Japan and Chile scheduled for Friday in Sapporo called off.
A powerful earthquake paralyzed Japan's northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, killing at least seven people, triggering landslides and knocking out power to its 5.3 million residents. The death toll from the 6.7-magnitude, pre-dawn quake was likely to rise as rescuers searched houses buried by landslides. About 33 people were missing and 300 were injured, public broadcaster NHK said. Four people were in cardiopulmonary arrest, a term used before death is officially confirmed. The quake was the latest in a string of natural disasters to batter Japan after typhoons, flooding and a record-breaking heat wave within the past two months. Aerial footage showed dozens of landslides exposing barren hillsides near the town of Atsuma in southern Hokkaido, with mounds of red earth and toppled trees piled at the edge of green fields. The collapsed remains of what appeared to be houses or barns were strewn about. "It came in four big jerks - boom! boom! boom! boom!" one unidentified woman told NHK. "Before we knew it our house was bent and we couldn't open the door." Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said 25,000 Self-Defense Force troops would be deployed for rescue operations. The island, a tourist destination about the size of Austria known for its mountains, lakes and seafood, lost its power when Hokkaido Electric Power Co (9509.T) shut down of all its fossil fuel-fired power plants after the quake as a precaution. It was the first time since the utility was established in 1951 that had happened. Almost 12 hours later, power was restored to parts of Sapporo, Hokkaido's capital, and Asahikawa, its second-biggest city. The government said there was damage to Hokkaido Electric's Tomato-Atsuma plant, which supplies half the island's 2.95 million households. It could take a week to restore power fully to all residents, Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said. All trains across the island were halted. Abe's Liberal Democratic Party begins a leadership contest on Friday but said there would be no campaigning through to Sunday. Abe and rival Shigeru Ishiba both canceled campaign media appearances slated for Friday. Television footage from Sapporo showed crumbled roads and mud covering a main street. Police directed traffic because signal lights were out while drink-vending machines, ubiquitous in Japan, and most ATMs were not working. "Without electricity, there's nothing I can do except to write prescriptions," a doctor in Abira, the town next to Atsuma, told NHK. Media reported a baby girl at a Sapporo hospital was in critical condition after the power was cut to her respirator. It wasn't clear if the hospital had a generator. The quake hit at 3:08 a.m. (1808 GMT Wednesday) at a depth of 40 km (25 miles), with its epicenter about 65 km (40 miles) southeast of Sapporo, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. In Atsuma, it registered a 7 on Japan's 7-point quake intensity scale, the agency said, revising an earlier measurement. Hokkaido's main airport was closed, at least for the day. Debris and water could be seen on the terminal floors. Kyodo news agency said more than 200 flights and 40,000 passengers would be affected on Thursday alone. The closure comes just days after Kansai Airport, another major regional hub, in western Japan, was shut by Typhoon Jebi, which killed 11 people and injured hundreds. The storm, the most powerful to hit Japan in 25 years, stranded thousands of passengers and workers at the airport, whose operator said it would resume some domestic flights on Friday. In July, torrential rain in west Japan caused flooding that killed more than 200 people and widespread destruction. That was followed by a heat wave that reached a record 41.1 Celsius and led to the deaths of at least 80 people. Farming, tourism and other services are big economic drivers on Hokkaido, which accounts for just 3.6 percent of Japan's gross domestic product, but there is some industry. Kirin Brewery and Sapporo Breweries both said factories were shut by the power outage. A series of smaller shocks followed the initial quake, the JMA said. Residents were warned to take precautions. By the afternoon, backhoes and other earth-moving equipment in Atsuma had begun clearing debris. Japan is situated on the "Ring of Fire" arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that partly encircles the Pacific Basin. Northeast Japan was hit by a 9 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, that triggered a tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people and led to meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Hokkaido's Tomari nuclear power station, which has been shut since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, suffered a power outage but officials said it was coolin its spent nuclear fuel safely. 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 capital at any time.