An earthquake has paralyzed Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, killing eight residents. Power is cut to 3 million households. Trains and mobile phone networks are idle. The jolt follows a typhoon over western Japan.
NHK broadcasting put the death toll at eight people, including six in the township of Atsuma, where landslides engulfed homes. A further 33 persons were missing. Around 130 people had sustained minor injuries, it said. A mudslide in Sapporo left several cars half buried.
"The shaking was really terrible," an unidentified survivor told NHK as rescuers used backhoe vehicles and shovels to sift through soil and rocks.
Emergency shutdowns at fossil fuel-fired power plants cut electricity to the entire island — the size of Austria — leaving all trains, including high-speed services, halted, said Hokkaido Railway Co.
The outage also affected hospitals, subways, ATM money dispensers, and mobile phone networks.
Telephone provider NTT East made available public phones still linked by landlines.
A week to restore power
Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said the Hokkaido Electric Power Co. might need a week to restore power fully to all 5.3 million residents.
Damage was reported at the island's key Tomato-Atsuma power plant.
Seko said mobile generators were being sent to hospitals. Additional power deliveries from Japan's mainland were planned. Even with stopgap measures, thousands would be without power for some time, he said.