Japan earthquake death toll climbs to 44

Tokyo: The death toll in Japan’s 6.7-magnitude earthquake, that struck the Hokkaido island last week, has climbed to 44, officials said on Monday.

Rescue teams on Monday recovered the dead body of a 77-year-old man, the last person missing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a press conference.

Most of the deaths were recorded in the town of Atsuma, near the epicentre of the tremor, which had struck the island last Thursday, Efe news reported.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that according to the police and local authorities in Hokkaido, 660 people were injured in the quake.

The earthquake also caused landslides that buried dozens of houses and at least 70 buildings were destroyed. Around 2,600 people remained in temporary shelters on Sunday.

The public transport system was being gradually restored and work was in progress to normalize operations at the Chitose international airport, which suspended operations after the quake left almost the whole island without power.

The power supply would continue to be erratic as the main Tomato power plant in Atsuma — which produces around half of the total electricity in the province — was shut down after the earthquake and the operator said it could take up to a week to restart operations.