Strong quake hits Osaka in western Japan leaving people dead

Japan earthquake

Top Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga on Monday confirmed the deaths of a child and a man, and said a third person was also feared dead in the quake.

The inland natural disaster, with a preliminary magnitude of 6.1, occurred at a depth of around 13 kilometers shortly before 8 a.m., with its epicenter in the northern part of Osaka Prefecture in an area where active faults are concentrated.

A 9-year-old girl was killed by a falling concrete wall at her school, and the two other fatalities were men in their 80s. The Japan Meteorological Agency has updated the magnitude of the quake to a stronger 6.1.

A number of train services were suspended, including the "shinkansen" bullet train, as multiple smaller aftershocks followed the quake. Passengers were seen exiting trains on the tracks between stations.

Steve Huen Kwok-chuen, executive director of EGL Tours, said its travel agency had more than 10 tours in Osaka, and all had reported in as being safe.

The quake knocked over walls, broke windows and set off scattered building fires. Television images showed goods scattered on the floor of shops and building debris in streets.

Senior government officials are gathering for an emergency meeting at the Prime Minister's office, broadcaster NHK reported. Some subway services started to resume in the afternoon. Mitsubishi Motors briefly shut down production at two plants in Kyoto and Shiga prefectures, while Daihatsu Motor Co, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp, suspended operations at two plants in Osaka and Kyoto prefectures.

Osaka prefecture, which includes the city and surrounding areas, has a population of 8.8 million.

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The quake struck in one of Japan's main manufacturing heartlands, home to companies including Panasonic, Nintendo and Keyence Corp.

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

The shake up also caused ruptures in paved roads, creating large sinkholes that were flooded by water.

She said the council had not received any requests for help from Hong Kong travellers regarding the quake.

The June 18 quake is the first time that a temblor registering a lower 6 on the 7-point Japanese seismic intensity scale has jolted Osaka Prefecture since 1923, when seismic records began being kept.

"It was so terrifying because this is my first natural disaster".

"We were sleeping and it woke us up abruptly", Kate Kilpatrick, who was staying in a hotel in Osaka, told Reuters. A magnitude 4.6 quake struck Gunma prefecture - north of Tokyo - on Sunday, while a magnitude 4.5 tremor hit Chiba - east of Tokyo - on Saturday.

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