The number of people dead or in a critical condition in Hokkaido following a powerful earthquake has risen to 18, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday, amid fears the figure will continue to grow.

There have been 9 confirmed fatalities, while 9 others are in cardiopulmonary arrest, the government's top spokesman said. Another 22 people are still missing.

In the town of Atsuma, where massive landslides buried a number of homes, police, firefighters and Self-Defense Forces personnel searched manually and used heavy machinery to dig through rubble. All of the missing people are located in Atsuma, according to the government.