Four dead after strong earthquake hits Japanese city

The quake also grounded flights in and out of Osaka and paralysed traffic and commuter trains most of the day.

The gate of Myotoku-ji temple (Yosuke Mizuno/Kyodo News via AP)
The gate of Myotoku-ji temple (Yosuke Mizuno/Kyodo News via AP)

Residents in western Japan are cleaning up after a powerful earthquake hit the area around Osaka, killing four people and injuring hundreds.

The magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck the area early on Monday damaged buildings and left many homes without water or gas.

The quake also grounded flights in and out of Osaka and paralysed traffic and commuter trains most of the day.

Smoke rises from a house blaze in Takatsuki (Yohei Nishimura/Kyodo News/AP)

Takatsuki city confirmed another victim late on Monday, as the death toll rose to four. City officials did nto have details of the victim, but NHK and Kyodo News reported that an 81-year-old woman was found dead underneath a wardrobe that fell on her at her home in Takatsuki.

Also in Takatsuki, a concrete wall at a school fell onto the street, killing nine-year-old Rina Miyake as she walked to the school.

Mayor Takeshi Hamada apologised over her death because of the wall’s collapse. The city acknowledged that the wall did not meet building safety codes.

The structure was old and made of concrete blocks — a known risk in earthquakes. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga ordered the Education Ministry to conduct nationwide safety checks of concrete block structures at public schools.

More than 1,000 schools were closed in Osaka and nearby prefectures, Kyodo News reported. Wall cracks and other minor damage were found at several schools.

A man in his 80s died in the collapse of a concrete wall in Osaka city. An 85-year-old man in nearby Ibaraki died after a bookcase fell on top of him at home, according to the disaster management agency.

A crack is filled with water on a road after water pipes were broken in Takatsuki (Keiji Uesho/Kyodo News/AP)

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 307 people were treated for injuries at hospitals.

Most of the injured were in Osaka. Osaka officials did not give details, but the injuries reported in Kyoto and three other neighbouring prefectures were all minor.

The quake struck shortly before 8am north of Osaka at a depth of about 13 kilometres, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The strongest shaking was north of Osaka, but the quake rattled large parts of western Japan, including Kyoto, the agency said.

Press Association

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+’://’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

(function() {
var zergnet = document.createElement(‘script’);
zergnet.type = ‘text/javascript’; zergnet.async = true;
zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == “https:” ? “https:” : “http:”) + ‘//’;
var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0];
znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr);