Devastating landslides caused by a powerful 6.6-magnitude earthquake in northern Japan claimed at least nine lives on Thursday, with dozens still missing as homes were engulfed.
Multiple, large-scale landslides struck the sparsely populated countryside, which was also hit by the edge of a powerful typhoon that surged through Japan earlier this week.
Aerial views showed dozens of houses destroyed at the bottom of a hill, with a rescue helicopter winching a resident to safety.
Around three million homes lost power after the quake damaged a major thermal plant supplying the region.
Moments after the initial quake, an aftershock measuring 5.3 rocked the area and dozens more aftershocks followed throughout the night and into the morning.
NHK reported that nine people had lost their lives, many of them in the village of Atsuma, where the landslide engulfed the homes. Thirty-three people were still missing, the broadcaster added.
Local media said the dead also included an 82-year-old man who fell down the stairs at his home during the quake and that around 130 people had sustained minor injuries.
Japan is still recovering from the worst typhoon to hit the country in 25 years, which struck the western part of the country on Tuesday, claiming at least 11 lives and causing major damage to the region’s main airport.