A powerful quake rocked Japan’s second city of Osaka on Monday, killing three people including a nine-year-old girl and injuring more than 200, according to an official tally.
Television images showed buildings swaying and burst pipes spewing water after the quake, which struck at the height of rush hour in the city of around two million.
However, there was no large-scale destruction and no tsunami warning issued after the earthquake, although commuters were stranded and tens of thousands were left without power.
Among the casualties was a nine-year-old girl who died in the city of Takatsuki north of Osaka, reportedly trapped by a collapsed wall following the 5.3-magnitude quake.
Local media said the other two dead were an 80-year-old man — killed by a collapsing wall — and a man trapped under a bookcase in his home.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said more than 200 people were injured.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters the government was “working united, with its first priority on saving people’s lives”. And government spokesman Yoshihide Suga cautioned there was a possibility of strong aftershocks.
“Large-scale quakes are likely to happen in the next two to three days,” he told reporters.
Japan sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where many of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are recorded.
On March 11, 2011, a devastating magnitude 9.0 quake struck under the Pacific Ocean, and the resulting tsunami caused widespread damage and claimed thousands of lives.
It also sent three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing Japan’s worst postwar disaster and the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.