3 confirmed dead in western Japan earthquake

Strong earthquake shakes Osaka in western Japan

As the quake was centred inland, there was no fear of a tsunami.

Students sit on a playground after they were evacuated from school building after an quake at Ikeda elementary school in Ikeda, Osaka prefecture, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 18, 2018.

Water flows out from cracks in a road damaged by an natural disaster in Takatsuki, Osaka prefecture, western Japan on Monday.

The 5.3-magnitude quake struck at a depth of 15.4km at 7.58am (6.58am, Singapore time) near Osaka, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Despite its 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 tremor caused power outages in some areas, suspending train operations during the morning commuting hours.

No irregularities were detected at the Mihama, Takahama and Ohi nuclear plants to the north of Osaka, Kansai Electric Power said. There are reports of scattered damage including broken glass and concrete. Japanese media reported one of the likely victims is a 9-year-old girl at a school. Close to 100 people suffered injuries, according to the government's emergency and disaster task force. Television images showed passengers getting off trains onto the tracks between stations.

There were no immediate reports of major damage and no tsunami warning was issued after the powerful quake, which stranded commuters and left tens of thousands without power.

Local police said a girl, aged nine, had died in the city of Takatsuki, north of Osaka city.

The quake struck in one of Japan's main manufacturing heartlands, home to companies including Panasonic Corp., Nintendo Co. and Keyence Corp, and plants across the area were halted as firms assessed the damage.

Automakers Honda Motor Co., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. unit Daihatsu all stopped production at plants in the region. Product shipments from the refinery have also been halted, he added.

A major quake has always been feared in the area, which is located near several major faults.

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