A magnitude 6.1 natural disaster shook Osaka, Japan's second-biggest metropolis, early on Monday morning, killing 3 people, halting factory lines in a key industrial area and bursting water mains, government officials and broadcaster NHK said.
The 6.1 magnitude quake did not trigger a tsunami warning and nuclear plants in the area are operating normally. Some passengers got off trains and walked on the tracks between stations.
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. Japanese media reported one of the likely victims is a 9-year-old girl found at a school.
Japanese broadcaster NHK reported the girl was on her way to school at the time.
Kansai Electric said on its website that around 170,000 homes in the Osaka region were briefly without power.
NHK showed footage of firefighters tackling a blaze that ripped through a home north of Osaka.
The Kansai region is one of Japan's main manufacturing heartlands, home to companies including Panasonic Corp., Nintendo Co. and Keyence Corp, and a major natural disaster has always been feared in the area.
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"It was not as bad as the Kobe quake", he told the Associated Press from Osaka.
Despite having a 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. An 84-year-old man in nearby Ibaraki died after a bookshelf fell on top of him at home, according to city officials.
Railway services in Osaka, Shiga, Kyoto and Nara, both high speed bullet trains and local rail services, were halted.
Japan sits on the so-called Ring of Fire, one of the most active seismic zones in the world, and experiences earthquakes frequently, which is why most infrastructure is specially created to withstand earthquakes.
The authorities said that none of the 15 nuclear reactors in this region have been affected by the quake. "I thought it was a nightmare because I was so confused", she said.
The quake struck an important industrial area of central Japan.
The strongest shaking unfolded in an area north of Osaka city, the agency said.