Deadly 5.9-magnitude quake hits western Japan

A strong quake hit Osaka city on Monday morning, rattling one of Japan's industrial heartlands, but appearing to spare the region of any major damage.

A strong natural disaster has shaken the city of Osaka in western Japan.

Public broadcaster NHK and private station TV Asahi both reported "several" deaths, with the Kyodo news agency saying a nine-year-old girl had been trapped by a damaged wall in a swimming facility north of Osaka city.

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While there were no reports of widespread damage, Japanese authorities are still assessing the impact, with PM Shinzo Abe emphasizing that the safety of residents is the government's top priority at the moment.

The epicenter of the quake was in the northern part of Osaka Prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, and no tsunami warning was issued.

The tremor caused power outages in some areas, suspending train operations during the morning commuting hours. Television images showed passengers getting off trains onto the tracks between stations. The strongest shaking was in an area north of Osaka city, the agency said. The quake recorded 3 on the Japanese scale in parts of the prefecture. Product shipments from the refinery have also been halted, he added.

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