Death Toll from Hokkaido Quake Hits 44
Tokyo – The death toll from a powerful earthquake in northern Japan last week rose to 44, with 660 injured, the government said on Monday.
The 6.7-magnitude quake last Thursday temporarily paralysed the island of Hokkaido, cutting off access by air and train and knocking out power.
About 2,500 people remain in evacuation centres, according to Fire and Disaster Management Agency, after landslides buried houses and rain at the weekend loosened soil in a further threat to unstable houses.
Yoshihide Suga, the top government spokesman, said a team of about 40,000 Self-Defence Force troops, police, firefighters and others were working on clearing debris and other clean-up operations. There were no more missing residents, he said.
Power supply has been restored to nearly all customers in Hokkaido but Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko called on the island’s businesses and 5.3 million residents to use about 20 per cent less energy to prevent further blackouts.
“It’s very important now for all residents, businesses, the government, and electricity suppliers to work together towards this goal of 20 percent energy-saving,” Seko told a news conference late on Sunday.