ON the island of Hokkaido, rescuers have continued the search for 26 people who have been missing since an earthquake caused an avalanche to crush their homes .

On the outskirts of the town of Atsuma, rescuers used dogs, diggers and shovels to dig through mud and debris from landslides triggered by the magnitude 6.7 quake that struck before dawn on Thursday.

There were no reports of survivors being pulled from the rubble.