Japan reeling from double whammy as quake strikes Hokkaido

An earthquake struck an area near Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, early Thursday morning

Japan was still picking up the pieces from Typhoon Jebi when an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale struck the country’s northern island of Hokkaido this morning.

According to media reports, at least 19 people were missing and 120 injured in Hokkaido after the earthquake struck near Sapporo at 03.08 this morning, which triggered a landslide that caused serious structural damage.

An earthquake struck an area near Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, early Thursday morning

The disaster also hit Hokkaido’s main airport, New Chitose Airport, which will be closed for at least Thursday. Shinkansen trains have also been halted in some areas.

A series of smaller shocks, including one with a magnitude of 5.4, followed the initial quake, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

Residents have be cautioned to brace for potential big aftershocks in the next few days, although JMA stated that the quake posed no tsunami risk.

The country is still reeling from what’s said to be the worst typhoon it has seen in 25 years. On Tuesday, Typhoon Jebi battered western Japan, killing 11 people and injuring hundreds more, according to media reports.

A bridge to Kansai International Airport was damaged after winds of up to 216km/h sent a 2,500-ton tanker slamming into the bridge.

Some 3,000 travellers were stranded overnight, before boats began ferrying people out of the airport yesterday. After safety inspections, buses were also allowed to run on one side of the bridge.

Some countries issued advisories on travel to Japan after the disaster. Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “In view of the situation caused by Typhoon Jebi in Japan, Singaporeans should defer non-essential travel to Osaka during this period. Singaporeans in the affected areas are advised to take all necessary precautions for their personal safety, monitor the local news closely and heed the instructions of the local authorities.”

It added: “Singaporeans whose flights have been affected should also check with your airlines or tour operators for up-to-date flight schedules, and may wish to consider alternative transport arrangements, including flights out of nearby airports such as the Kobe Airport.”

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