The shallow epicentre caused strong tremors that killed three and injured dozens of people in the region.

At 7:58 a.m. on 18 June, an earthquake measuring 5.3 on the moment magnitude scale, and a lower 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7, was recorded in the northern part of Osaka Prefecture at a depth of about 13 kilometres (8 miles). Reports from the Meteorological Agency showed the earthquake shook a large part of Japan, with tremors felt as far south as Saga Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, and all the way up to Ibaraki Prefecture, past Tokyo.

Although its magnitude was relatively weak – the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 registered 9.0–9.1 on the moment magnitude scale – the shallow epicentre resulted in high-intensity tremors that caused widespread damage in Osaka, with the hardest-hit areas being the cities of Takatsuki, Hirakata and Ibaraki (not to be confused with the above-mentioned Ibaraki Prefecture).

▼ Houses shook, rocking furniture and shattering plates and other items.

▼ Heavy tiles on a number of traditional-style buildings were damaged, opening up holes in rooftops.

The earthquake’s epicentre, located at Takatsuki, which is roughly halfway between the cities of Osaka and Kyoto, suffered extensive damage, with water seen leaking from a burst pipe at Takatsuki Station.

Burst water pipes were also seen on the road in Takatsuki’s Shimotanabecho district.

Lockers used to store shoes at the entrance to a local school show just how strong the jolt must’ve been.

Sadly, a nine-year-old girl was killed in Takatsuki when a wall beside a swimming pool at Juei Elementary School collapsed as she walked on the road beside it.

Another fatality was confirmed in the neighbouring region of Ibaraki, where a man in his 80s was crushed by a bookshelf at home. Authorities have advised residents in the area to be on alert for the possibility of strong aftershocks, with emergency workers shutting off gas services temporarily and working to fix burst water pipes to ensure the safety of residents.

Scenes at Ibaraki Station show fallen signboards and stranded commuters on the platform shortly after the quake struck this morning.

In Osaka City, an 80-year-old man died after being hit by a falling wall, bringing the current number of fatalities from the earthquake to three. Osaka City itself also suffered extensive damage, with burst water pipes spewing water several metres into the air in the eastern part of the city.

Shin-Osaka Station also experienced a strong tremor, which toppled public phones.

▼ Shops like this bookstore in Shin-Osaka Station were affected.

▼ The ticket booth at Universal Studios Japan was also damaged in the quake.

Train services in the area were immediately suspended following the earthquake, causing extensive delays. This video shows passengers stranded at Nishikujō Station Osaka’s Konohana Ward, approximately 25 minutes after the tremor.

As all services in the Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hyogo, Shiga, and Wakayama) were suspended, commuters shared eerie pictures of deserted stations.

The Sanyo Shinkansen eventually resumed operations at 2:58 p.m., seven hours after the quake hit.

In 2016, the magnitude 7 earthquake that hit Kumamoto on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu was preceded by a magnitude 6.2 temblor two days earlier, so residents in Osaka are taking precautions, wiping supermarket shelves of goods like instant noodles, canned foods, gas canisters, batteries, and bottled water.

Residents in the Kansai region were previously rocked by the Great Hanshin earthquake, or Kobe earthquake, in 1995, which measured 6.9 on the moment magnitude scale and 7 on the Japanese seismic scale, causing enormous damage.

With more than a hundred people injured in today’s quake, authorities are urging residents to stay calm and remain vigilant over the coming days, as strong aftershocks remain a possibility.

Source: Net Lab
Featured image: Twitter/@Rsan0614MC