Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Powerful quake strikes western Japan, train services disrupted

Powerful quake strikes western Japan, train services disrupted

A magnitude 6.1 natural disaster shook Osaka, Japan's second-biggest metropolis, early on Monday morning, killing three people, halting factory lines in a key industrial area and bursting water mains, government officials and broadcaster NHK said.

The magnitude 6.1 quake struck north of Osaka city Monday shortly after 8 a.m.

The nine-year-old girl died when she was knocked down by a concrete wall at her school, while a man in his 80s died when a concrete wall collapsed in Osaka city. Several others are reported in a state of "cardiopulmonary arrest", a condition usually used by Japanese authorities until a formal examination has been conducted to confirm death.

The epicenter of the natural disaster was just north of Osaka city, said the Japan Meteorological Agency, which originally put the magnitude at 5.9 but later raised it to 6.1.

Private broadcaster TV Asahi showed firefighters responding to a blaze that broke out after the quake at a house north of Osaka city. The quake knocked over walls, scattered goods on the floor of shops and set off scattered fires around Osaka. As the quake was centred inland, there was no fear of a tsunami. There was no damage to its Ohi and Takahama nuclear plants which are both located in the region, Kyodo News reported.

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Train and subway service including the bullet train have been suspended to check for damage to equipment.

Local officials said they had not received reports of major damage in the highly-urbanised area, where roads and train tracks criss-cross around densely-packed apartment buildings.

Footage on national broadcaster NHK showed flooding from burst underground water pipes, train passengers forced to exit along train lines, and schoolchildren gathering outside in precautionary evacuations.

Osaka prefecture, which includes the city and surrounding areas, has a population of 8.8 million. More than 170,000 homes were without power as of 8:20 a.m., regional utility Kansai Electric Power Co. said.

The quake struck in one of Japan's main manufacturing heartlands, home to companies including Panasonic, Nintendo and Keyence Corp.

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