Magnitude 6.1 quake in Japan’s Osaka area kills three
Date: 2018-06-18 10:44
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake shook Osaka, Japan’s second-biggest metropolis, early on Monday (June 18) morning, killing three people, halting factory lines in a key industrial area and bursting water mains, government officials and broadcaster NHK said.
No tsunami warning was issued. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said authorities were assessing damage and that their top priority was the safety of residents. At least 234 people were injured, public broadcaster NHK said.
Live footage showed burst water mains and a house on fire after the quake hit Osaka, which will host next year’s Group of 20 summit, just before 8 a.m. (2300 GMT Sunday) as commuters were heading to work.
Quakes are common in Japan, part of the seismically active “Ring of Fire” that sweeps from the South Pacific islands through Indonesia and Japan, across to Alaska and down the west coast of North, Central and South America.
The epicenter of Monday’s earthquake was just north of Osaka city at a depth of 13 km (8 miles), said the Japan Meteorological Agency. The agency originally put the magnitude at 5.9 but later raised it to 6.1.
The quake struck an important industrial area of central Japan. Osaka-based Panasonic said it was halting production at three of its plants. Daihatsu Motor Co, a unit of Toyota Motor Corp, stopped its factories in Osaka and Kyoto while it checked for damage.
Tractor maker Kubota Corp. said it halted two plants in the area, while air conditioner maker Daikin Industries Ltd suspended operations at two plants, one of which resumed by noon.
Honda Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors said they were resuming operations after temporary suspensions and safety checks. Sharp Corp also resumed work at a joint venture plant with parent Hon Hai Precision Industry that it had stopped for safety checks.
NHK and other Japanese media said collapsing walls had killed an 80-year-old man and a 9-year-old girl, and that another man in his 80s was killed after being crushed by a toppling bookcase. The government confirmed two of the deaths.
Japan introduced a law after the Kobe quake requiring owners of large buildings such as hotels and hospitals to have their buildings inspected for earthquake resistance.