Japan earthquake: 'At least 8 dead' as powerful quake hits northern island of Hokkaido

Quake knocks out power for 5.3 million people days after nation is hit by 'super-typhoon'

Japan: Aerial footage shows devastating effect of landslide following 6.6 magnitude earthquake

A powerful earthquake has hit Japan's northern island of Hokkaido killing at least eight people, it has been reported.

The 6.7-magnitude quake knocked out power to Hokkaido's 5.3 million residents days after Japan was hit by the strongest typhoon to hit the nation in 25 years.

It struck at 3:08 am (18:08 GMT Wednesday) at a depth of 40km (25 miles), with its epicentre about 65km (40 miles) southeast of Sapporo, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

At least eight people have died, 120 injured and 38 are currently missing, public broadcaster NHK said.

Aerial footage showed dozens of landslides exposing barren hillsides near the town of Atsuma in southern Hokkaido, with mounds of reddish earth and toppled trees piled up at the edge of green fields. The collapsed remains of what appeared to be houses or barns were scattered about.

"The shaking was really terrible," an unidentified man in Atsuma told NHK. "I thought the house was going to collapse."

Other scenes from the southeastern part of Sapporo, Hokkaido's capital, showed crumbled roads and mud flowing onto a main street.

All trains across the island, which is about the size of Austria, were also halted.

The government said there was damage to the Tomato-Atsuma plant that supplies half the electricity to the island's 2.95 million households.

TV footage showed police directing traffic because signal lights were out. Drink-vending machines, ubiquitous in Japan, and most ATMs were not working.

"Without electricity, there's nothing I can do except to write prescriptions," a doctor in Abira, the town next to Atsuma, told NHK.

The earthquake struck near Hokkaido's main airport, New Chitose Airport, which would be closed for at least Thursday. Roof tiles and water could be seen on the terminal floors.

Chitose airport is a major gateway to the island, known for its mountains, lakes and abundant farmland and seafood. More than 200 flights and 40,000 passengers would be affected, Kyodo News agency said.

The closure comes just a couple days after Kansai Airport, an important hub for companies exporting semiconductors near Osaka in western Japan was shut after it was hit by Typhoon Jebi.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said officials hoped to reopen Kansai Airport for domestic flights on Friday.

Telephone service provider NTT East made public phones free throughout Hokkaido to allow residents to call land lines as mobile phones lose power.

The Tomari Nuclear Power Station, which has been shut since a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, suffered a power outage but was cooling its spent nuclear fuel safely with emergency power, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Jebi, named after the Korean word for “swallow” in Korean, was briefly classed as a super typhoon as winds of up to 129mph were recorded in one part of Shikoku, the smallest main island.

Agencies contributed to this report

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