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More than 210 injured in Osaka-area natural disaster

18 June 2018

A 9-year-old girl and two men in their 80s have been killed by a strong natural disaster in the western Japan metropolis of Osaka.

Police inspect the site - covered by blue sheet - where a 9-year-old girl was killed by fallen wall near a school in Takatsuki, Osaka.

The jolts shattered windows, knocked over walls, and resulted in several residential building fires.

The Japan Meteorological Agency is warning that over one week there may be aftershocks that have around the same seismic intensity as Monday's quake, which registered lower 6 on the Japanese scale of 7.

Meanwhile, Japan's JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corp says it has shut all refining units at its 115,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Osaka refinery after the quake.

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Two elderly men and one 9-year-old girl died after being hit by collapsing walls and furniture, according to the Japan Times.

An quake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale hit a central part of Japan including Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Saitama prefectures at around 3:27 p.m. on June 17, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Osaka and surrounding areas in western Japan hit by a powerful natural disaster on Monday are in a region where experts have long warned of the potential for major seismic activity.

The government has confirmed that there is no risk of a tsunami.

Osaka prefecture, which includes the city and surrounding areas, has a population of 8.8 million.

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Local officials said they had not received reports of major damage in the highly-urbanised area, where roads and train tracks criss-cross around densely-packed apartment buildings. There were no reports of abnormalities at its nuclear plants in the region.

Several rail services were suspended, including the bullet train.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters the government was "working united, with its first priority on saving people's lives". In 1995, a magnitude 6.9 quake killed more than 6000 people when it struck in neighbouring Kobe.

Japanese Self-Defense Force fighter jets and helicopters are heading to the area to gather information.

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More than 210 injured in Osaka-area natural disaster