TOKYO - At least four people have been confirmed dead and 350 others have been injured after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck Osaka prefecture in western Japan on Monday.
According to local authorities, in Takatsuki city, Osaka prefecture, a 9-year-old girl was killed on her way to school when an outer wall at her school's swimming pool collapsed and a man in his 80s was confirmed dead after his house in the city of Osaka was leveled.
Police and local district headquarters also said that another man in his 80s in the city of Ibaraki was seriously injured after being trapped under a bookshelf and was later pronounced dead after being rushed to hospital.
An 81-year-old woman from Takatsuki was also confirmed dead after a cupboard collapsed on her, local media reported Monday evening.
According to public broadcaster NHK, while local authorities have suggested the death toll is likely to rise, at least 350 people have been injured across multiple prefectures in western Japan as result of the quake.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the temblor hit at around 7:58 am. The quake caused major disruptions of train services across the Kansai region, affecting many commuters during rush hour.
At a morning news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga warned of possible powerful aftershocks in the next few days.
Tokaido Shinkansen services were suspended between Maibara and Shin-Osaka stations and Sanyo Shinkansen Line services were stopped between Shin-Osaka and Okayama stations. Many local train services in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Hyogo prefectures were halted due to the quake.
Nuclear reactors in Oi, Mihama and Takahama in Fukui Prefecture were operating normally, said their operators. According to Kansai Electric Power Co, a total of 170,000 households were without power as of 9:25 am.
The earthquake, with a focus about 13 kilometers underground in northern Osaka Prefecture, registered a lower 6 on the 7-point Japanese seismic intensity scale in northern Osaka Prefecture, the meteorological agency said.
The areas that felt that intensity include Osaka's Kita Ward and the cities of Takatsuki, Hirakata, Ibaraki and Minoo, also in Osaka Prefecture, according to public broadcaster NHK.
Children were evacuated to the playground of a school in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, after the quake.
The JMA said that the earthquake's intensity in the southern area of Kyoto Prefecture hit an upper 5 on the same scale, while parts of Shiga, Hyogo and Nara prefectures experienced a lower 5.
There was no danger of a tsunami due to this earthquake, the agency said.
A quake measuring 7.3 in magnitude and the maximum 7 on Japan's seismic scale struck the region in 1995, claiming the lives of more than 6,000 people.