3 confirmed dead in powerful Osaka quake: authorities

Osaka International Airport in Toyonaka Osaka Prefecture is seen in this file

A strong quake with a magnitude of 6.1 hit Osaka and other parts of western Japan on Monday morning, leaving at least three people dead and more than 200 injured, disrupting rush-hour traffic and cutting off power, water and gas in the area.

Kansai Electric said on its website that around 170,000 homes in the Osaka region were without power. Dozens of flights in and out of Osaka were grounded and train service was suspended across a wide area.

Some areas in Osaka are reportedly experiencing power shortage.

The epicentre of the quake was in the northern part of the prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

"We were sleeping and it woke us up abruptly", said Kate Kilpatrick, 19, who was staying in a hotel in Osaka when the quake hit.

The quake knocked over walls, broke windows and set off scattered building fires.

A falling concrete wall knocked down and killed Rina Miyake as she walked at her elementary school in Takatsuki.

The magnitude 6.1 quake struck north of Osaka city Monday shortly after 8 a.m.

NHK showed footage of firefighters tackling a blaze that ripped through a home north of Osaka, and several broadcasters showed images of water gushing into the street from underground pipes.

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.

The magnitude 6.1 quake struck the city of Osaka and the surrounding area Monday about 8 a.m. The third victim died in the nearby city of Ibaraki. Passengers were seen exiting trains on the tracks between stations.

Takatsuki Mayor Takeshi Hamada apologized over her death because of the wall's collapse. Two men in their 80s also died, news reports said.

The government has confirmed that there is no risk of a tsunami. Some subway services started to resume in the afternoon.

A massive magnitude 9.0 quake hit northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, triggering a huge tsunami that killed some 18,000 people and triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster in a quarter of a century at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Monday's quake also followed a series of smaller quakes near Tokyo in recent weeks.

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

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. Elevators in his office building were out of operation. "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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