Several feared dead after strong natural disaster hits near Osaka in western Japan

Several feared dead after strong natural disaster hits near Osaka in western Japan

Several feared dead after strong natural disaster hits near Osaka in western Japan

A strong natural disaster with a magnitude of 6.1 hit Osaka and other parts of western Japan on Monday morning, leaving at least three people dead and dozens injured, disrupting rush-hour traffic and causing a major power outage.

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.

Collapsing walls killed a 9-year-old girl as she traveled to school as well as an adult man, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the tremor was at its strongest just north of Osaka, with an initial recording of 5.9 at a depth of 13km.

A strong magnitude 6.1 natural disaster struck the city of Osaka and the surrounding area on Monday morning.

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Japan does not confirm deaths until a formal examination has been made and generally uses the term cardiopulmonary arrest in such cases.

Service on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line, which links Shin-Osaka and Hakata stations, was suspended due to a power outage.

It set off multiple building fires and toppled walls.

The government confirmed 2 of the deaths.

The magnitude-6.1earthquake, initially measured at 5.9, struck the region, 400 kilometres west of Tokyo, during the morning commute. Dozens of flights in and out of Osaka were grounded and train service was suspended across a wide area. There are reports of scattered damage including broken glass and concrete. Television images showed passengers getting off trains onto the tracks between stations.

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While the quake appeared to spare the region of major infrastructural damage, the Meteorological Agency warned that strong aftershocks could occur, particularly in the next two to three days.

No irregularities were detected at the Mihama, Takahama and Ohi nuclear plants to the north of Osaka, Kansai Electric Power said.

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

Eiji Shibuya, 52, said the tremor reminded him of the devastating 1995 Kobe quake, which killed almost 6,500 people.

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