One week since the New Year's Day earthquake rocked Ishikawa Prefecture, the Meteorological Agency on Monday warned of the possibility of powerful quakes continuing to hit the area over the next month, while the number of missing more than tripled.

Authorities said the number of people in the prefecture whose safety had yet to be confirmed had surged from 103 to 323. However, the prefecture was casting a wide net for information on the missing, and so it was possible that some had moved away and could not be contacted but were still safe.

The death toll from the quake also jumped, rising to at least 168, as snow and plummeting temperatures continued to complicate relief efforts. The dead included 70 each in the hard-hit cities of Wajima and Suzu, according to the prefecture.