A neighbor walks over a crack of ground triggered by an earthquake in Kiyota, outskirts of Sapporo city, Hokkaido, northern Japan, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. A powerful earthquake hit wide areas on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido early Thursday, triggering landslides as well as causing the loss of power. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Japan quake toll up to 16 as searchers look under landslides

September 06, 2018 - 8:32 pm

SAPPORO, Japan (AP) — Officials say 16 people died or are presumed dead after a powerful earthquake on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido unleashed scores of landslides, burying homes in avalanches of soil, rock and timber.

Searchers were digging through the mountains of debris Friday near a small mountain town hoping to find survivors, with 26 people still unaccounted for after the magnitude 6.7 quake struck early Thursday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said nearly half of the households have had their power restored after a day of island-wide blackouts.

The regional government said the bullet train to the provincial capital, Sapporo, was due to reopen later in the day. But damage to some parts of the city was severe, with houses atilt and roads crumbled or sunken.

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