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Japan quake death toll jumps to 161, 103 missing

Around 20,700 households in the wider Ishikawa region remained without electricity on Sunday. More than 66,100 households were without water.

“The first priority has been to rescue people under the rubble, and to reach isolated communities,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in an interview with NHK on Sunday.

The military has sent small groups of troops to each of the isolated communities on foot, he said.

The government has also “deployed various police and fire department helicopters” to reach them, Kishida added.

Japan experiences hundreds of earthquakes every year, though most cause no damage because of strict building codes in place for more than four decades.

But many structures are older, especially in rapidly ageing communities in rural areas like Noto.

The country is haunted by the monster quake of 2011 that triggered a tsunami, left around 18,500 people dead or missing and caused a nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima plant.

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