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At least three killed and 90 injured as earthquake shakes Japan's Osaka

One of the victims was a nine-year-old girl who was killed when a wall collapsed on her at school.

A STRONG EARTHQUAKE knocked over walls and set off scattered fires around metropolitan Osaka in western Japan this morning, killing at least three people and injuring dozens.

The Osaka prefectural government’s disaster management department said two people were found dead, while the Ibaraki city official confirmed a third victim.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said more than 90 were injured in Osaka and nearby prefectures of Hyogo and Kyoto.

One victim was a nine-year-old girl knocked down by a concrete wall at her elementary school as she walked by.

A man in his 80s died in the collapse of a concrete wall in Osaka city. An 84-year-old man in nearby Ibaraki died after a bookshelf fell on top of him at home, according to city officials.

japan4 School children take shelter in their school yard in Ikeda, Osaka.

 

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

The magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck shortly after 8am north of Osaka at a depth of about 13 kilometres, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The strongest shaking was north of Osaka, but the quake rattled large parts of western Japan, including Kyoto, the agency said.

The quake knocked over walls, broke windows and set off scattered building fires. It toppled book shelves in homes and scattered goods on shop floors. It also cracked roads and broke water pipes, leaving homes without water.

japan2 Water floods out from a crack in the road following the earthquake in Takatsuki in Osaka. Source: Yohei/Nishimura/Koyodo News/AP

The morning commute was disrupted, as dozens of domestic flights in and out of Osaka were grounded, while train and subway service in the Osaka area including the bullet train were suspended to check for damage.

japan Debris of damaged walls scattered following the earthquake in Ibataki, Osaka. Source: Yosuke Mizuno/Kyodo News/AP

Passengers were seen exiting trains on the tracks between stations. Some subway services started to resume in the afternoon.

The earthquake reminded many in Japan of the magnitude 7.3 Hanshin-Kobe quake in 1995 that killed more than 6,000 in the region. Monday’s quake also followed a series of smaller quakes near Tokyo in recent weeks.

japan3 A supermarket in Hirakata, Osaka, after this morning's earthquake. Source: Ikuo Tatsumi/Kyodo News via AP

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.

“It was not as bad as the Kobe quake,” he told the Associated Press from Osaka. His girlfriend ducked down under the table. Elevators in his office building were out of operation. “I used the stairs but I was out of breath by the time I arrived at my office on the 20th floor.”

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Associated Press

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