2 feared dead, others hurt after quake hits Osaka, Japan

Adjust Comment Print

At least three people have died and at least 200 more were injured after an quake struck Japan's northern Osaka region on Monday morning.

As well as killing at least three people and injuring hundreds, a powerful natural disaster in the Osaka region has briefly brought chaos to local transportation systems and caused substantial damage to housing and infrastructure. The strongest shaking was in an area north of Osaka city, the agency said.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority said it had detected no problems at any of the region's atomic power plants. Another man, 85, died from a falling bookshelf, while another 80-year-old passed away after being struck by part of a wall.

Live TV coverage of the immediate aftermath showed ruptured underground pipes spewing water on to the street, while firefighters were seen tackling a blaze at a home on the city's northern outskirts. Television images showed passengers getting off trains and walking along the tracks between stations.

The tremors measured magnitude 6.1 on the Japanese natural disaster scale and trackers at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the quake as magnitude 5.3.

He said he had instructed officials to "swiftly collect information on the damage, do their utmost to rescue people and save lives... and provide timely information to the public".

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. Kansai also said more than 170,000 households were without power in Osaka and neighbouring Hyogo prefecture.

"My parents suffered a blackout and they have no water". In 1995, a magnitude 6.9 quake killed more than 6000 people when it struck in neighbouring Kobe.

"I was stunned. I couldn't do anything", he told AFP from Itami, a city near Osaka.

Multiple small aftershocks followed the quake, and an official from Japan's meteorological agency warned residents to remain on guard. "I was relieved when I confirmed he was safe".

The quake also hit several key industrial areas near Osaka with companies like Panasonic and Daihatsu saying they were suspending production at their affected sites.

"Large-scale quakes are likely to happen in the next two to three days", he told reporters. Some subway services started to resume in the afternoon.

The tsunami killed thousands of people in its path and sent three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima power plant into meltdown, causing the biggest nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.