Strong natural disaster hits Osaka, Japan

Clay Curtis
June 18, 2018

TOKYO-A strong natural disaster killed at least three people and injured more than 230 others as it knocked over walls and set off scattered fires around metropolitan Osaka in western Japan on Monday morning. It had a depth of about 8 miles (13 kilometers) with an original magnitude measured at 5.9. Television images showed passengers getting off trains and walking along the tracks between stations.

No abnormalities were found at Japan Atomic Power Co.'s inactive Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in the village of Tokai, in Ibaraki Prefecture, according to the prefectural government.

Takuya Nishimura, an associate professor of geodetics at Kyoto University, said there was a possibility that the quake had occurred at the eastern end of a fault extending from the northern part of the prefecture to Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture.

Dozens of domestic flights in and out of Osaka were grounded, while train and subway services were suspended.

Two elderly men and a 9-year-old girl were died from collapsing walls and furniture.

Damaged Myotoku-ji temple caused by an natural disaster is seen in Ibaraki, Osaka prefecture, western Japan, on Monday.

Local police said the girl had died in the city of Takatsuki, north of Osaka city.

Live footage showed burst water mains and a house on fire after the quake hit Osaka, which will host next year's Group of 20 summit, just before 8 commuters were heading to work.

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The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said the government was assessing the damage and that its priority was to rescue anyone trapped inside buildings. It rated the quake at "6 Lower" on its JMA Seismic Intensity scale, meaning the shaking would have been severe enough to make it hard to remain standing.

All trains and subways across Osaka city were halted, and the bullet train that links Osaka to Tokyo was stopped.

The meteorological agency warned the quake might be followed by another big tremor in the coming days.

Major manufacturers such as Honda Motor Co and Mitsubishi Motors Corp resumed operations at their plants on Monday afternoon.

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

Japan sits on the so-called Ring of Fire, one of the most active seismic zones in the world, and experiences earthquakes frequently, which is why most infrastructure is specially created to withstand earthquakes.

On Mar 11, 2011, a devastating magnitude 9.0 quake struck under the Pacific Ocean, and the resulting tsunami caused widespread damage and claimed thousands of lives.

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