Rescue teams scrambled to dig the survivors and regain power after a powerful earthquake hit northern Japan's main island of Hokkaido, bending roads, demolishing homes from their foundations and causing the collapse of cliffs.
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Residents of Sapporo were driven from their beds when an earthquake measuring 6.7 hit at 3.08 am. At least seven people were confirmed dead and about 30 were missing.
Japan is used to dealing with disasters, but the past few months have brought a series of disasters.
The quake occurred immediately after a typhoon caused heavy flooding in western Japan and left the main airport near Osaka and Kobe after a tanker hit a bridge on the mainland. Summer also brought flooding due to heavy rains in Hiroshima and extremely high temperatures throughout the country.
Video cameras in Hokkaido showed that the cities were shut down because the earthquake hampered power systems, leaving nearly 3 million homes on the island without electricity.
The only nuclear power plant on the island, which turned off, turned into backup generators to keep the spent fuel cool. Nuclear regulators said there were no signs of abnormal radiation, a source of concern after the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 that hit northeastern Japan destroyed all of the external force Support for the Fukushima Dai Aichi nuclear plant, which caused a collapse.
The epicentre of the quake was at a depth of 40 km, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. But it still destroys much of the island with relatively low population density.
Rescuers use small dredges and shovels to check tons of dirt, rocks and wood and hope to find survivors in the city of Atsuma, where mountain foothills have collapsed, houses and agricultural buildings are crushed, leaving dozens of brown cuts in green hills.
Airports and many roads on the island have been closed and trains cancelled due to power cuts. NHK showed the workers running to clean the shredded.
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