At least three people — a 9-year-old girl and two men in their 80s — were killed in Japan after a strong earthquake shook the city of Osaka on Monday morning, setting off building fires, toppled concrete walls and cracked roads and water pipes. No tsunami warning was issued.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said the number of the injured had risen to 91 about three and a half hours after the quake struck the region.
An 80-year-old man and a 9-year-old girl were killed, while several other people are in “cardiopulmonary arrest” after walls collapsed when a magnitude-6.1 earthquake hit Osaka in western Japan on Monday, public broadcaster NHK earlier reported.
Japan does not confirm deaths until a formal examination has been made and generally uses the term "cardiopulmonary arrest" in such cases. NHK said that the elderly man and the girl had been killed by collapsing walls.
NHK and TV Asahi had both initially reported "several" deaths. Local police told Agence France-Presse that they could not confirm the reports.
The Japan Meteorological Agency originally put the quake’s magnitude at 5.9 but later raised it to 6.1. The strongest shaking was in an area north of Osaka city.
The Japanese government had not received reports of major damage as of 8.30 am local time(11.30 pm GMT ), spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
Live footage showed burst water mains and a house on fire after the quake hit Japan’s second-biggest metropolis just before 8 am local time (11 pm GMT Sunday) as commuters were heading to work.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government was assessing damage and that its top priority was the safety of residents.
Television images showed goods scattered on the floor of shops and building debris in streets.
The morning commute was disrupted as train and subway service in the Osaka area including the bullet train were suspended to check for damage to equipment.
Kansai Electric Power said no irregularities had been detected at the Mihama, Takahama and Ohi nuclear plants after the quake. Kansai also said more than 170,000 households were without power in Osaka and neighboring Hyogo prefecture.
Daihatsu Motor Co, an Osaka-based unit of Toyota Motor Corp, said it had suspended production at its factories in Osaka and Kyoto while they check for damage.
Sharp Corp said its directly-owned plants in the area were operating as usual, but a joint venture plant with parent Hon Hai Precision Industry said it had halted operations for safety checks.
“We were sleeping and it woke us up abruptly,” said Kate Kilpatrick, 19, who was staying in a hotel in Osaka when the quake hit.
“It was so terrifying because this is my first earthquake. I thought it was a nightmare because I was so confused. The whole world was aggressively shaking,” she said.
Kilpatrick, visiting Japan for the first time from the United States, said alarms went off almost immediately in the hotel and a loudspeaker told guests to stay away from windows.
Osaka is to host 2018’s Group of 20 summit.
A massive magnitude 9.0 quake hit northeastern Japan on 11 March, 2011, triggering a huge tsunami that killed some 18,000 people and triggered the world’s worst nuclear disaster in a quarter of a century at Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.