Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Strong natural disaster strikes near Tomakomai in northern Japan

Strong natural disaster strikes near Tomakomai in northern Japan

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed officials to ascertain the extent of damage and extend a helping hand to those affected. The U.S. Geological Survey said it struck some 68 km (42 miles) southeast of Sapporo, Hokkaido's main city.

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

According to the US Geological Survey the 6.7 magnitude natural disaster struck 112km southeast of Sapporo, a major city.

Japan is still recovering from the worst typhoon to hit the country in 25 years, which struck the western part of the country on Tuesday, claiming at least 11 lives and causing major damage to the region's main airport.

A woman walks past a damaged building in Abira town, near Chitose, Hokkaido, northern Japan following the strong quake.

Rescue squads from fire departments were combing many areas for survivors and further people who could be trapped following widespread massive landslides.

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.

Suga said two people had been killed, with local media reporting around 40 were missing.

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They also write about long lines at food stores as people stock up on supplies amid fears of more tremors.

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 quake was followed by three aftershocks, measuring up to magnitude 4.8. It set off a tsunami that devastated communities along the Pacific coast and killed almost 20,000 people.

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, "there is no tsunami threat from this quake".

They warned residents about increased risks of collapse among buildings near the epicenter.

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 number of houses were buried in the towns of Atsuma and Abira following the 3:08am (1.08am Thailand time) quake after mountain slopes collapsed, according to the prefectural government and firefighters.

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