Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed the deaths of 16 people due to the 6.6-magnitude earthquake that shook Hokkaido in the early morning (local time) of Thursday, September 6. At least 26 other people are still missing from the town of Atsuma, where a landslide buried several homes. Around 1.6 million people remain without power as of 09:00 on Friday, September 7 and power company officials warn it may take up to a week for service to resume to all customers. Aftershocks of up to 4.4-magnitude continued to affect the area on Friday and more such quakes are expected in the coming days.
Some transportation services to Hokkaido are resuming on Friday. Bullet trains are expected to resume operations to Sapporo by noon and Japan Airlines is preparing to resume operations at Hokkaido's primary airport, New Chitose Airport (CTS), at 11:00. ANA canceled its morning flights but is expected to resume normal operations later in the day.
A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck 27 km (16.7 mi) east of Tomakomai at 03:07 at a depth of 33.4 km (20.7 mi), causing "Very Strong" shaking, or seven on a scale to 10, for the areas around the epicenter and up toward Sapporo. Five aftershocks in the same region between 4.3-magnitude and 5.4-magnitude and at a similar depth have been registered by the US Geological Survey (USGS) throughout the day on September 6.
Japan frequently experiences earthquakes given its location on four tectonic plates along the Pacific "Ring of Fire."
Individuals in the Hokkaido area are advised to be prepared for possible aftershocks, anticipate transportation disruptions, and confirm travel reservations. In general, after a powerful earthquake, check for damages and take note of your surroundings. If indoors, shut off water, gas, and electricity lines and evacuate the building.
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