Japan quake: Death toll climbs after 6.1 temblor strikes Osaka

18 June, 2018, 14:30 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Students sit on a playground after they were evacuated from school building after an earthquake at Ikeda elementary school in Ikeda Osaka prefecture western Japan in this

A magnitude 6.1 natural disaster shook Osaka, Japan's second-biggest metropolis, early on Monday, killing three people, halting factory lines in an industrial area and bursting water mains, government and company officials said. Some passengers got off trains and walked on the tracks between stations.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the earthquake's epicentre was just 10 kilometres deep, resulting in high-intensity tremors.

Three people were confirmed dead, including a nine-year-old girl, who was reported to have died after a school wall fell on her.

National broadcast NHK said an elderly man was also killed by a collapsing wall, while another was trapped below a bookcase at home.

Some 170,000 houses were left without power and gas supplies to more than 100,000 homes were stopped, the Japan Times reported.

Osaka and surrounding areas in western Japan hit by a powerful quake on Monday are in a region where experts have long warned of the potential for major seismic activity.

Meanwhile, Japan's JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corp says it has shut all refining units at its 115,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Osaka refinery after the quake.

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It said it would resume operations at the Osaka plant on Monday evening. At 13 kilometers (8.1 miles) it was relatively shallow, and caused heavy shaking that registered a lower 6 on the Japanese scale of 7.

Dozens of flights in and out of Osaka were grounded and train service was suspended across a wide area.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters the government was "working united, with its first priority on saving people's lives".

The Japanese weather agency issued warnings for further aftershocks and land slides over the next few days.

Both Panasonic and Daihatsu have temporarily closed factories in the city.

Japan sits on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire" where a large proportion of the world's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are recorded. A worker there said he felt a strong jolt from below the ground at the time of the quake.

It also sent three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing Japan's worst postwar disaster and the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

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