Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Strong quake hits Osaka in western Japan; partial building collapses reported

Strong quake hits Osaka in western Japan; partial building collapses reported

A powerful quake that jolted northern Osaka Prefecture on June 18, leaving at least three dead and dozens injured, occurred near a major active fault zone, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

Police check a collapsed road following an quake in Takatsuki, north of Osaka prefecture on June 18, 2018.

At least three people were killed and over 50 others injured on Monday when a an quake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale jolted Japan's Osaka city.

Disaster management minister Hachiro Okonogi said there could be people buried under a collapsed building, and that the authorities are working to confirm details and conduct search-and-rescue operations.

A nine-year old girl killed by a falling wall at her school was one three confirmed fatalities. Two men in their 80s also died, news reports said. An 84-year-old man in nearby Ibaraki died after a bookshelf fell on top of him at home, according to city officials.

The quake was recorded at 7.58 a.m. and had its hypocenter at about 13 km depth in Osaka Prefecture on the island of Honshu, the largest in the Japanese archipelago, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The strongest shaking was north of Osaka, the agency said. The agency originally put the quake's magnitude at 5.9 but later raised it to 6.1. Books were thrown off the shelves at a store. The fury of nature also cracked roads and broke water pipes, flooding streets and leaving homes without water.

The shinkansen bullet train service remains halted due to the quake as at 11.30am local time, while the Hanshin Expressway that connects Osaka to the neighbouring Kyoto and Kobe cities is also closed. Passengers exited trains on the tracks between stations.

Kansai Electric Power said no irregularities had been detected at three nuclear plants in the region.

Takuya Nishimura, an associate professor of geodetics at Kyoto University, said there was a possibility that the quake had occurred at the eastern end of a fault extending from the northern part of the prefecture to Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture.

Multiple small aftershocks followed, and an official from Japan's meteorological agency warned residents to remain on guard. Some subway services started to resume in the afternoon.

A massive 9.0 quake hit much further to the north in March 2011, triggering a huge tsunami that killed some 18,000 people and triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster in a quarter of a century at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. "I used the stairs but I was out of breath by the time I arrived at my office on the 22nd floor", he said.

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