Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in northwestern Japan due to fears of mudslides and aftershocks following Monday's powerful earthquake. At least nine people were killed in the disaster. As VOA's Heda Bayron reports from our Asia News Center in Hong Kong, the damage to a nuclear power plant in the region has again focused attention on the safety of the country's nuclear facilities.

Relief and rescue operations continued in northwestern Japan Tuesday, where thousands of people are sheltering in school buildings and community centers. The 6.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed homes and cut water, gas and power supplies.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, visiting the affected area Monday, says the government will do its utmost to save lives and repair the damage.

A nationwide safety review of Japan's nuclear power plants has been ordered. The quake caused a fire and a small leak of water containing radioactive materials at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant, the world's largest. The facility has been shut for the time being.

Quake-prone Japan relies on nuclear power for a third of its electricity supply.