Magnitude 6.6 quake shakes Sapporo city in Japan, no tsunami threat

Strong earthquake shakes northern Japan, does not pose tsunami threat to Hawaii

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference that authorities had received hundreds of calls about people missing and buildings' collapsing. Four people were in cardiopulmonary arrest, a term used before death is officially confirmed.

The government and Hokkaido Electric Power Co. said the massive power outage, covering the 2.95 million households in the prefecture, was caused because the Tomato Atsuma thermal power plant stopped, subsequently creating an imbalance in power supply and demand.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said 4,000 of Japan's Self-Defence Forces had been dispatched to help with recovery efforts, with 25,000 more expected to join. It could take a week to restore power fully to all residents, Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said.

The Tomari Nuclear Power Station, which has been shut since a 2011 natural disaster and tsunami, suffered a power outage but officials said it was cooling its spent nuclear fuel safely.

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Kazuo Kibayashi, 51, a town official at hard-hit Abira town, told AFP: "There was a sudden, extreme jolt".

Internet users reported a power outage on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido where Sapporo is located, but damage appeared to be limited.

Seko said utilities were planning to start up several other thermal and hydroelectric plants to provide at least some power. Eight people are reported to have died, according to local media, while there are around 40 now missing. Bullet trains and local train services were also disrupted.

The blackout shut down Hokkaido's New Chitose Airport, a popular gateway to the most northern of Japan's main islands, the second major airport to be knocked out in the country in two days after a typhoon swamped the nation's third-biggest. The quake came on the heels of a typhoon that lifted heavy trucks off their wheels and triggered heavy flooding in western Japan, leaving the main airport near Osaka and Kobe closed after a tanker rammed a bridge connecting the facility to the mainland.

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A statement from the Japanese FA said that they have cancelled the match in Sapporo as a result of the tremor, with its epicentre 60km southeast of the city.

A series of smaller shocks followed the initial quake, the JMA said.

Japan sits on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin which is prone to frequent and large earthquakes.

The quake hit at 3:08 a.m., with the epicenter in the eastern Iburi district that stretches along the southwestern coast.

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