A powerful earthquake that struck Osaka prefecture and other parts of western Japan Monday morning killed three and injured more than 300, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Rina Miyake, a 9-year-old girl, died on her way to school after a wall collapsed in the city of Takatsuki. Two men in their 80s were killed after a wall and a bookcase collapsed.
The quake forced Honda Motor Co, Panasonic Corp and other manufacturers to suspend production in the region, according to Kyodo News.
The magnitude 6.1 quake cut off power, water and gas in the area. It caused rush-hour traffic disruptions as the bullet train and other local railways halted operations. Most of the railway and bullet train services were resumed on Monday.
Toshiyuki Matsumori, director of the Japan Meteorological Agency"s Earthquake and Tsunami Observation Division, warned that a strong quake of similar size could jolt the Osaka region within a week, but he dismissed concerns that Monday"s temblor could trigger a mega-quake that scientists say may occur at some point off western Japan.
He said it is "unlikely at this point" that seismic activity would lead to the long-anticipated Nankai Trough earthquake, which would have devastating consequences for a long stretch of densely populated Pacific coastline from Shizuoka prefecture to Kyushu.
No nuclear power plants in Japan were affected by the Monday earthquake, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said.
Kansai Electric Power Co restarted the Oi and Takahama nuclear plants in Fukui prefecture, north of Osaka, in recent months. No abnormalities have been reported from radiation monitoring posts installed around the nuclear plants.
Monday"s temblor was the latest in a string of quakes over the last few days. A magnitude 4.5 temblor struck Chiba prefecture, near Tokyo, on Saturday, and a magnitude 4.6 quake hit southern Gunma prefecture, north of Tokyo, on Sunday.
A deadly quake with a magnitude of 7.3 hit Osaka and its adjoining areas in 1995, leaving 6,434 people dead.
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