M6.7 quake jolts Hokkaido, leaving 1 with no signs of life

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.7 rocked Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido early Thursday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, with one person found to be showing no signs of life.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari nuclear power plant lost an external power source, with a spent fuel pool of its Nos. 1 to 3 reactors currently being cooled by an emergency power supply system.

The weather agency said there may be a slight sea-level change in Japan’s coastal areas as a result of the 3:08 a.m. quake but that no damage is expected.

The temblor, which occurred in southern Hokkaido at a depth of about 37 kilometers, logged upper 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in the town of Abira and lower 6 in the city of Chitose, both southeast of Sapporo. It was followed by smaller aftershocks.

Hokkaido government officials and firefighters said an 82-year-old man showed no signs of life after falling down the stairs in his residence in Tomakomai during the quake.

Firefighters in Atsuma said five houses were confirmed to have collapsed and that rescue work is under way to help those possibly buried under the houses. Two houses in Sapporo also collapsed.

Tohoku Electric Power Co. said no abnormalities were detected at the Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture.

In Tokyo, the central government set up a liaison unit at the crisis management center of the prime minister’s office to gather information on the temblor.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed officials to ascertain the extent of damage and extend a helping hand to those affected.

The quake triggered a blackout across a wide area in Hokkaido. It also affected telephone service and television broadcasting in Sapporo.

All — Kyodo News+

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