3 confirmed dead in western Japan natural disaster, at least 90 injured

Strong Quake Rattles Japan's Osaka, Causes No Major Damage

The natural disaster - which the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) put at magnitude 6.1 - hit the western Japan prefecture at 7.58am local time (6.58am Singapore time), disrupting rush-hour traffic at a time when many were on their way to work and school.

Students of a public elementary school in Ikeda city, Osaka Prefecture, evacuate to the school yard after a strong quake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 struck on Monday morning.

The emergency also left about 170,800 buildings without power for several hours.

Among the casualties was a nine-year-old girl who died in the city of Takatsuki north of Osaka, reportedly trapped by a collapsed wall following the 5.3-magnitude quake.

NHK said an 80-year-old man had also been killed by a collapsing wall, and that the third fatality was a man trapped under a bookcase in his home.

Live footage showed burst water mains and a house on fire after the quake hit Japan's second-biggest metropolis in the morning (2300 GMT Sunday) as commuters were heading to work.

Myotokuji temple is destroyed by an natural disaster registering a weak 6 on the Japanese seismic scale in Ibaraki City, the north side of Osaka Prefecture on June 18, 2018.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the quake's epicenter was in northern Osaka Prefecture and occurred at a depth of about 13 kilometers.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said authorities were assessing damage and that their top priority was the safety of residents.

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A 30-year-old lawyer Jun Kawasaki said the quake reminded him of the Kobe quake 23 years ago, and started packing up immediately to run away.

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

Television images showed goods scattered on the floor of shops and building debris in streets. Quakes of a lower-6 intensity make it hard for people to stay on their feet and can topple unsecured furniture and other items. "Almost all of the dishes fell and shattered on the floor", Kaori Iwakiri, a 50-year-old nurse in Moriguchi - just north of Osaka city - said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says a quake with preliminary magnitude of 5.9 struck Monday around 8 a.m.

"I saw the ceiling and the floor undulating, and I could barely stand. I thought it was a nightmare because I was so confused", she said.

Japan sits on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire" where a large proportion of the world's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are recorded.

Initially it was reported that the quake was of a 5.3 magnitude.

No abnormalities have been reported at 15 nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture.

Kansai Electric Power said no irregularities had been detected at three nuclear plants in the region.

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