TOKYO - The death toll from a powerful earthquake that rattled the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido doubled to at least 16, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said
Friday, with more than half the island's 5.3 million residents still without power.
The 6.7 magnitude quake, which hit before dawn Thursday, triggered landslides that buried houses and paralyzed Hokkaido with widespread power and transport cuts.
The death toll had been at eight overnight, but broadcaster NHK cited Abe in reporting the new total soon after he held an emergency meeting early Friday.
Another 26 people were missing, disaster management authorities said.
The island, a tourist destination about the size of Austria known for its mountains, lakes and seafood, lost all power after the quake when Hokkaido Electric Power Co. shut its fossil fuel-fired power plants as a precaution.
The utility had restored power to about 1.31 million of 2.95 million customers by early Friday, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said. It could take at least a week to restore power fully, Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko has said.
The quake was the second disaster to hit Japan this week, after a summer during which the country has been battered by deadly typhoons, flooding and a record heat wave.
Kansai International Airport has been shut since Typhoon Jebi ripped through Osaka on Tuesday, although some domestic flights operated by Japan Airlines (JAL) and ANA's low-cost carrier Peach Aviation resumed Friday, the
At Hokkaido's main airport, New Chitose, JAL was preparing to restart some flights late Friday morning, a spokesman said. ANA canceled all morning flights but would resume operations as normal in the afternoon, a spokesman
The Hokkaido Railway Company planned to resume bullet train operations at midday. It was also trying to resume other train services on Friday afternoon, a spokesman said.
However, manufacturers were still being affected by power outages.
Operations at Toyota Motor Corp.'s Tomakomai factory, which makes transmissions and other parts, will remain suspended until power is restored, a spokesman said.
Toppan Printing's operations at a plant in Chitose, which makes food packages, will remain suspended until it regains power, a spokesman said.
Cultural events were also affected, with a soccer friendly between Japan and Chile scheduled for Friday in Sapporo called off.