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REPEAT: MNI: Strong Quake Jolts Western Japan, 3 Dead

     TOKYO (MNI) - A strong earthquake with a 6.1 magnitude shook Osaka and
surrounding cities in western Japan at 0758 JST on Monday (2258 GMT Sunday),
killing three people and injuring at least 61. It caused damage to buildings,
walls, roads and water mains.
     The magnitude was revised up to 6.1 from an initial 5.9.
     The Meteorological Agency didn't issue a tsunami warning along the Pacific
Coast of the Kinki region but cautioned that strong aftershocks in the coming
week could cause houses to collapse and trigger mud slides during the rainy
season. Only a few fires broke out but more could be caused by ongoing
aftershocks.
     Among the casualties were a nine-year-old girl and men aged 80 and 85, all
hit by falling objects.
     The epicenter of the quake, which measured up to 6 minus on the Japanese
intensity scale of 1 to 7, was located 10 kilometers deep at an inland point in
northern Osaka Prefecture, a commercial hub. 
     Public broadcaster NHK said the earthquake disrupted supplies of
electricity, gas and water in some areas. Some services have been restored, it
said.
     Train services were suspended in Osaka and nearby cities, leaving tens of
thousands of commuters and travelers stranded at stations during the morning
rush hour. Bullet train services were expected to be resumed on Monday
afternoon.
     The Bank of Japan issued a statement, saying the operations at its branches
in Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe were normal and that the BOJ's financial settlement
computer network continued working for the banks in the region hit by the
earthquake.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-4670-5309; email: max.sato@marketnews.com

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