Where is Osaka? How many have been killed?

Saul Bowman
June 19, 2018

"Large-scale quakes are likely to happen in the next two to three days", he told reporters.

The major natural disaster, which rocked Osaka Prefecture and the surrounding area at about 7:58 a.m. Monday, killed 9-year-old Rina Miyake after a wall around her school's swimming pool collapsed on her as she was walking to the school.

Concrete walls made of stacked cinder-blocks are a known risk in earthquakes but the danger has been largely ignored even though the current building codes calls for walls built before 1981 to be upgraded. NHK showed the collapsed upper half of the high wall, which was painted cheerfully with flowers, trees and blue sky and surrounded the school swimming pool.

A woman in a bicycle cries in front of floral tributes to a victim of yesterday's natural disaster in Takatsuki, Osaka prefecture, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 19, 2018.

A man in his 80s died in the collapse of a concrete wall in Osaka city.

"If it had been a wire fence instead of a concrete-block wall, this would not have happened", said a 36-year-old woman who visited the site with her 10-year-old daughter to mourn the girl's death, as residents placed flowers and candies at the spot. Osaka officials did not give details, but the injuries reported in Kyoto and three other neighboring prefectures were all minor.

Local residents described the moment the quake jolted the highly urbanised area at 8:00 am, when platforms would have been heaving with passengers waiting to board their commuter trains.

Quakes are common in Japan, part of the seismically active "Ring of Fire" that stretches from the South Pacific through Indonesia and Japan, across to Alaska and down the west coast of North, Central and South America.

A number of train services were suspended, including the "shinkansen" bullet train, as multiple smaller aftershocks followed the quake.

Most trains in the area had resumed service on Tuesday, Osaka police said.

Live footage showed toppled walls, broken windows and water gushing from burst mains after the quake hit Osaka, which will host next year's Group of 20 summit, just before 8 a.m. on Monday (2300 GMT Sunday) as commuters were heading to work.

Some manufacturers, including automakers Daihatsu Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., electronics makers Panasonic and Sharp Corp., and confectioners Ezaki Glico Co. and Meiji Co., temporarily stopped production lines at their factories in the region for safety checks, news reports said.

More than 170,000 households in Osaka lost power after the quake but all have since been restored. It also cracked roads and broke water pipes, leaving homes without water.

On March 11, 2011, a devastating magnitude 9.0 quake struck under the Pacific Ocean, and the resulting tsunami caused widespread damage and claimed thousands of lives. Roofs and roof tiles at homes and at least one temple fell to the ground in Osaka.

A 30-year-old lawyer Jun Kawasaki said the quake reminded him of the Kobe quake 23 years ago, and started packing up immediately to run away. His girlfriend ducked down under the table. "I used the stairs but I was out of breath by the time I arrived at my office on the 22nd floor", he said.

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