2 feared dead, 41 hurt after quake hits Japan

2 feared dead, 41 hurt after quake hits Japan

TOKYO-A strong natural disaster killed at least three people and injured more than 230 others as it knocked over walls and set off scattered fires around metropolitan Osaka in western Japan on Monday morning.

Footage on national broadcaster NHK showed flooding from burst underground water pipes, train passengers forced to exit along train lines, and schoolchildren gathering outside in precautionary evacuations.

The quake hit at 7:58 a.m. and initially measured a magnitude of 5.9 but was later raised to 6.1, according to Japan's Meteorological Agency.

An 80-year-old man and a young 9yo girl were killed in Japan, crushed by collapsing walls, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Two elderly men and one 9-year-old girl died after being hit by collapsing walls and furniture, according to the Japan Times.

Bloomberg reported plants across the area were halted as firms assessed the damage.

It disrupted the morning commute for thousands of people, including those outside the city, with bullet train and subway services suspended while they were checked for damage.

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In the larger Osaka Prefecture 170,800 homes and buildings were without power for several hours and water and gas were also off. Police said people were believed to be trapped in dozens of elevators.

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.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority said it had detected no problems at any of the region's atomic power plants. "Almost all of the dishes fell and shattered on the floor", said Kaori Iwakiri, a 50-year-old nurse in Moriguchi, just north of Osaka city.

The strongest shaking unfolded in an area north of Osaka city, the agency said.

Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 41 others had been injured.

Kate Kilpatrick, visiting Japan for the first time from the United States, said alarms went off nearly immediately in the Osaka hotel she was staying and a loudspeaker told guests to stay away from windows. Daihatsu Motor Co, a unit of Toyota Motor Corp, stopped its factories in Osaka and Kyoto while it checked for damage.

"We were sleeping and it woke us up abruptly", Kate Kilpatrick, who was staying in a hotel in Osaka, told Reuters.

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