"That can help us more quickly restore power in more places".
It's a problem shared by most affluent, and increasingly many other countries, but seems more apparent in this seismically overactive nation, where earthquakes and tsunamis are a constant threat and even the high-tech toilets have electronic flushes. As a stopgap, the company restarted three other plants with less generating capacity and switched on dozens of small hydroelectric plants.
According to the Hokkaido Electric Power Company, almost 3 million households have lost power.
The nuclear site suffered a power outage, but officials said it was cooling its spent nuclear fuel safely.
There were no radiation irregularities at the plant, Suga said, citing the operator.
The entire island lost power for the first time since Hokkaido Electric Power Co was created in 1951.
Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority said that the Tomari nuclear power plant operated by Hokkaido Electric Power Co.'s, had lost an external power source, and a spent fuel pool was now being cooled by an emergency power supply system.
The natural disaster also caused travel disruption, with all flights cancelled from Sapporo's main Chitose airport and bullet train services halted. The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude at 6.6.
Japanese rescue workers with bulldozers and sniffer dogs scrabbled through the mud on Friday to find survivors from a landslide that buried houses after a powerful quake, as the death toll rose to 18.
A devastating 6.7 magnitude quake struck the Japanese island of Hokkaido this morning.
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko initially instructed utility officials to restore power at the Tomato Atsuma thermal plant "within a few hours".
All trials scheduled for the day at Sapporo courts were canceled, while the Sapporo Securities Exchange has halted all trading and said it does not know when it can resume services.
Despite the islands relies mostly on farming, the power shortage also badly affected a number of industrial plants and factories.
Authorities sent power-generator vehicles to hospitals so they could accept emergency patients, he said.
This item corrects the spelling of the plant.
Public broadcaster NHK said 35 were dead, with around 5 people still unaccounted for in the town.
Hokkaido Prefectural Police said that as of noon on September 7, power had been restored to about half of some 13,000 traffic lights across the prefecture. Power was knocked out across the island. Long lines of people waited to charge their cellphones at the city's regional government office.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a task force meeting that 4,000 self-defense troops were being deployed on Hokkaido to join search-and-rescue operations.
The Japan Football Federation (JFA) said they had taken the decision after considering the magnitude of damage that included widespread power outages and transportation disruptions, as well as spectator safety.