A 6.1 magnitude quake hit the western city during the morning commute. It was the largest since records began in 1923. Three people were reported killed with many more injured.
Two men in their eighties died in Osaka City and in Ibaraki, and a nine-year-old girl was killed in the city of Takatsuki in western Japan on Monday morning, according to Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency. Up to 100 people were injured.
Transport was disrupted and trains stopped amid power outages during the morning commute as the earthquake struck at 8.a.m. local time (23.00 Sunday, UTC) at a depth of about 13 kilometers (8.1 miles).
A number of people were trapped in elevators, windows broke and and small fires were set off in buildings. Centered inland from the port city, the earthquake did not cause a tsunami.
The train and subway service in and around Osaka, including the bullet train to Tokyo, was suspended while checks were made. Some passengers got off trains and walked on the tracks between stations.
More to come?
No major damage to the infrastructure was recorded, but in Ibaraki City, a temple collapsed. The Meteorological Agency warned, however, that aftershocks could be felt over the next two to three days. In 2016, there was a 6.2 tremor two days before a 7 magnitude quake which caused injuries and damage in southern Kumamoto.
In 1995, a 6.9 earthquake killed more than 6,000 people in Kobe, 30 kilometers to the west of Osaka.
A major manufacturing center, Osaka is the headquarters for companies including Panasonic and Nintendo. Production at the Honda, Mitsubishi and Toyota car plants was stopped when the quake hit.
Osaka is due to hold the G20 meeting in June 2019.
jm/ng (Reuters, AP)