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Powerful earthquake shakes Japan

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A powerful earthquake struck Osaka and neighboring prefectures on June 18, killing at least three people and disrupting morning train services and knocking out power in a widespread area, reported The Ahasi Shimbun (Japan).

The quake, which hit at 7:58 a.m., registered a lower 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in northern Osaka Prefecture and an upper 5 in southern Kyoto Prefecture, according to the Meteorological Agency.

The magnitude is estimated at 6.1.

A 9-year-old girl died in Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, after the walls beside an elementary school swimming pool fell on her.

An 80-year-old man was killed in Osaka's Higashi-Yodogawa Ward after a wall of a house collapsed on him, while an 84-year-old man died in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, after a bookshelf fell on him at his home.

Many injuries were reported.

Service on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line was suspended due to a power outage between Shin-Osaka and Okayama stations. According to West Japan Railway Co., conventional railway service was also suspended.

According to Kansai Electric Power Co., power was cut to about 170,320 households in Osaka and Hyogo prefectures as of 9 a.m. Power was restored to all areas by 11 a.m.

No abnormalities have been reported at 15 nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture. No tsunami is expected, according to the agency.

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All nuclear power plants in Japan were unaffected as of 9:20 a.m. by the strong earthquake that rocked Osaka and neighboring prefectures on the morning of June 18, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said, reported The Ahasi Shimbun (Japan).

The temblor, which struck at 7:58 a.m., recorded a lower 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in northern Osaka Prefecture.

Kansai Electric Power Co. restarted the Oi nuclear plant in Oi and the Takahama nuclear plant in Takahama in Fukui Prefecture, north of Osaka Prefecture, in recent months.

The area where the two plants are located recorded seismic intensities of 3 to 4, which were not strong enough to trigger an automatic shutdown.

Kansai Electric has been operating the No. 3 reactor at the Takahama plant and the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Oi plant. The No. 4 reactor at the Takahama plant has been offline for a regular inspection since May.

No abnormalities have been reported from radiation monitoring posts installed around the nuclear plants.

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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