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Monday, June 18, 2018

6.1 Earthquake Kills Three In Osaka - UPDATED

This past Monday, a 6.1 Magnitude earthquake—that’s a pretty strong one—hit at 8AM local time north of Osaka, at a depth of eight miles (12.9 kilometers).

Three people died, including a nine-year-old girl who was crushed by large slab of a concrete wall that fell on her as she was walking along her elementary school’s outside wall in Takatsuki. See Reuters image above. Damn.

Mayor Hamada Takeshi (surname first) apologized over her death, acknowledging that that concrete wall made up of concrete blocks, was old and not up to the more current building safety codes.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide (surname first) has ordered the Education Ministry to perform safety checks on any concrete walls near public schools—nationwide.

A man in his 80s also died after a concrete wall collapsed on him in Osaka-shi (Osaka City), while an 84-year-old woman died after a bookcase fell on her in her home in the nearby city of Takatsuki.

Additionally, 307 people have been officially listed as hurt during the seismic event, though Japanese media giant NHK says there were at least 350 people hurt. Whatever. Lots of people hurt.

Japanese buildings—especially the newer ones are designed and built with earthquake occurrence in mind, but for whatever reason, it seems, in this case, that concrete walls are NOT part of the same consideration. 

It was a pretty damn strong earthquake, but earthquake-proofing designs for seismic events stronger than that are in place.

The earthquake was strongest north of Osaka-shi, but the good news (so far) is that the three nuclear power facilities at Mihami, Takahama and Ohi—all north of Osaka—are fine, according to the news agency Reuters.

Local, express, and shinkansen high-speed bullet train and subway service in Osaka has been halted, while domestic air flights in and out of Osaka were suspended to ensure safety.

As evidenced by the fallen sign at Ibaraki-shi eki (Ibaraki City station) - see above in the Getty image - someone could have easily been killed when that electronic signage partially collapsed.

Along with small fires (broken gas mains, or cooking implements hitting the ground), thee roads in the area have cracked, along with many water pipes, bursting up through roadways, leaving many residents without water.

But it is Japan… and like people everywhere, they will band together quickly and make sure every one is looked after.

Oh... and there's no risk of a tsunami from this seismic event. 

Andrew Joseph

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