TOKYO — A strong earthquake knocked over walls and set off scattered fires Monday morning around metropolitan Osaka in western Japan. At least three people were killed and more than 200 were injured.
The Osaka prefectural government’s disaster management department said two people were found dead, while the Ibaraki city official confirmed a third victim. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 214 people have been treated at hospitals in five prefectures. Most of the injured were in Osaka, which didn’t give details, but the injuries reported in Kyoto and three other neighboring prefectures were all minor.
One victim was a 9-year-old girl who was knocked down by a concrete wall at her elementary school as she walked by.
A man in his 80s died in the collapse of a concrete wall in Osaka city. An 84-year-old man in nearby Ibaraki died after a bookshelf fell on top of him at home, according to city officials.
The magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck shortly after 8 a.m. north of Osaka at a depth of about 8 miles, 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.
The quake knocked over walls, broke windows and set off scattered building fires. It toppled book shelves in homes and scattered goods on shop floors. It also cracked roads and broke water pipes, leaving homes without water.
BBC News cites officials who say another tremor could happen in the next few days.
The morning commute was disrupted, as dozens of domestic flights in and out of Osaka were grounded, while train and subway service in the Osaka area including the bullet train were suspended to check for damage. Passengers were seen exiting trains on the tracks between stations.
Nothing unusual was detected at the Mihama, Takahama and Ohi nuclear plants north of Osaka, Kansai Electric Power said, according to the Reuters news agency.
BBC News also notes that several key industrial areas near Osaka were affected. Companies like Panasonic and Daihatsu are suspending production at their affected sites.