Japan Earthquake: Search for survivors continue

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Search and rescue mission has continued in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido with rescue workers using dogs to search for possible survivors following landslides caused by an earthquake.

Public broadcaster NHK put the death toll at 12, with five people unresponsive.

Earlier, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said 16 had died, but Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga later clarified in updated numbers that nine had been confirmed dead and nine others were in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest, a term typically used before death is confirmed.

Another 24 were still missing after Thursday’s pre-dawn magnitude-6.7 quake, the latest deadly natural disaster to hit Japan over the past two months, coming after typhoons, floods and a record-breaking heat wave.

Nearly 5,000 Hokkaido residents spent the night in evacuation centers where food was distributed in the morning.

About 22,000 rescue workers had worked through the night to search for survivors,

Meanwhile, residents have been urged to be careful as more rain was forecast for Friday afternoon and Saturday.

As of Friday afternoon, Hokkaido Electric Power Co had restored power to 1.54 million of the island’s 2.95 million households. The utility aimed to raise that number to 2.4 million, or over 80 percent, by the end of Friday, industry minister Hiroshige Seko said.

Flights resumed from midday at Hokkaido’s main airport, New Chitose. The island, about the size of Austria and with 5.3 million people, is a popular tourist destination known for its mountains, lakes, rolling farmland and seafood.