Tokyo: In a natural disaster incident, Two people were killed and 125 others injured in an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter Scale, followed by a number of aftershocks, that rocked Japan's Hokkaido prefecture early on Thursday.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the major temblor was centered in the Hokkaido prefecture at 3.08 a.m. (Japan time) with the epicenter at a latitude of 42.7 degrees north and a longitude of 142.0 degrees east, and at depth of 40 km, the news agency reported.
Multiple houses were buried by landslides and rescue work is underway for those still missing, Japan's public broadcaster NHK said.
It was the first time for a quake in Hokkaido to reach an intensity of upper 6 since the seismic scale was revised in 1996, the JMA noted.
The JMA has warned that earthquakes with a similar intensity could continue in the area for about a week.The JMA said there might be a slight sea-level change in Japan's coastal areas as a result of the magnitude 6.7 quake.
In Sapporo, capital city of Hokkaido, 53 people were reported injured.In Atsuma, at least 16 people were missing after eight households were buried by landslides, according to public broadcaster NHK.
A number of houses in the quake-stricken areas collapsed, with rescue work under way for those possibly buried under the houses, according to local officials.
The quake has also triggered power blackouts across a wide area in Hokkaido affecting some 3 million households, and hundreds of thousands of households were reported as having no water supply.
Telephone services and television broadcasting in Sapporo were affected, and flights were cancelled at New Chitose Airport due to the power outage, and bullet train and local train services were also disrupted.
More than 1,300 public schools in the prefecture have decided to temporarily close and asked their students to stay at home, according to reports.
It said that some 25,000 personnel from the Japanese Self-Defence Forces will be dispatched to the quake-stricken areas for rescue and relief operations at the request of the governor of Hokkaido.