Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Elderly man, 9-year-old girl killed as strong quake hits Japan

Elderly man, 9-year-old girl killed as strong quake hits Japan

TOKYO - A strong natural disaster knocked over walls and set off scattered fires around the city of Osaka in western Japan on Monday morning, and at least two people were feared dead.

Gas has been cut off to more than 100,000 households in Osaka, while some 170,000 houses in Osaka and neighbouring Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures are left without power. Train service was suspended across a wide area during the morning commute.

Some areas in Osaka are reportedly experiencing power shortage.

The quake, causing scattered damage including broken glass and partial building collapses, struck around 8 a.m. about 6 miles underground with a magnitude of 6.1, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The epicentre of Monday's quake, which the JMA said occurred at a depth of 13km, was about an hour to the north of the main entertainment district of Dotonbori.

The quake set off building fires, toppled concrete walls and cracked roads and water pipes.

A falling concrete wall knocked down Rina Miyake as she walked by at her elementary school in Takatsuki.

The natural disaster struck with a magnitude of 5.9 at 7:58 a.m. local time, at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

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All trains and subways across Osaka city were halted, and the bullet train that travels through the region was halted as far as Fukuoka in southern Japan. A strong quake hit western Japan early June 18, but there were no immediate reports of major damage or risk of tsunami waves, officials said. NHK public television aired video showing the collapsed upper half of the high wall, which was painted cheerfully with trees, flowers and blue sky and surrounded the school swimming pool. Two men in their 80s also died, news reports said.

Pictures on Twitter showed fallen signs at a train station.

Many homes and buildings, including a major hospital, were temporarily without power, though electricity was restored at most places by midafternoon.

Motochika Goto, 85, was crushed by a bookcase and died in Ibaraki in the Osaka suburbs, according to local police. Some subway services started to resume in the afternoon.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has updated the magnitude of the quake to 6.1, stronger than the initial 5.9 magnitude. Monday's quake also followed a series of smaller quakes near Tokyo in recent weeks.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.

A 30-year-old lawyer Jun Kawasaki said the quake reminded him of the Kobe quake 23 years ago, and started packing up immediately to run away. "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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