Elderly man, 9-year-old girl killed as strong quake hits Japan
18 June, 2018, 13:12
A 9-year-old girl died at Juei Elementary School in Takatasuki, Osaka Prefecture, after the wall of a swimming pool complex collapsed, according to the Osaka prefectural police and other sources.
Despite having a relatively low magnitude, the quake caused quite a shake, registering a lower six on the Japanese experiential scale of up to seven, meaning it is hard to stay standing. Heavy shaking was reported across the Kansai region, but there was no tsunami alert issue after the quake, which was centered inland.
The natural disaster struck at 7:58 a.m. local time, with an initial magnitude of 5.9 that was later revised upwards to 6.1.
A number of train services were suspended, including the "shinkansen" bullet train.
"There are fears that the risk of house collapses and landslides has increased in the areas shaken strongly", said Toshiyuki Matsumori, in charge of monitoring quakes at the agency.
No abnormalities were reported at the Takahama, Mihama and Oi nuclear plants in central Japan, according to Kansai Electric.
Osaka prefecture, which includes the city and surrounding areas, has a population of 8.8 million.
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. The city is close to Kobe, which was hit by a deadly magnitude 6.9 quake in 1995. Daihatsu Motor Co, a unit of Toyota Motor Corp, stopped its factories in Osaka and Kyoto while it checked for damage.
Market reaction to the event was largely muted, with shares in some companies located in the region including Osaka Gas dropping, while Sumitomo Osaka Cement Co. and electrical contractor Kinden Corp. gained as the extent of damage from the quake remained unclear.
The Arima-Takatsuki fault zone, which is located near the focus of the June 18 natural disaster, triggered the Keicho-Fushimi quake in 1596 that is thought to have had a magnitude of 7.5. Osaka is set to host the G-20 meeting in June 2019.
Train guide electric boards tilt following an quake at Ibaraki-shi Station in Ibaraki City, north of Osaka prefecture on June 18, 2018.
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