Strong natural disaster hits Osaka in western Japan

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A strong quake hit the Japanese city of Osaka during morning rush hour Monday, killing at least two people and injuring 40, Japan's government says.

The Osaka prefectural government's disaster management department said two people were found dead, while the Ibaraki city official confirmed a third victim.

An elevator operator said there were at least 70 cases of people being temporarily trapped inside elevators in Osaka Prefecture and nearby areas, while the police said a water pipe on a road in Takatsuki burst and flooded the area.

Students of a public elementary school in Ikeda city, Osaka Prefecture, evacuate to the school yard after a strong quake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 struck on Monday morning. In 1995, a magnitude 6.9 natural disaster killed more than 6,000 people when it struck in neighboring Kobe.

Public services were also suspended due to the quake.

Japanese authorities don't confirm death until after an examination at a hospital. The Japan Meteorology Agency put the magnitude at 5.9 and JMA Seismic Intensity at 5.3.

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The 5.3 magnitude quake shook Osaka, on Japan's main Honshu Island, around 8 a.m. Monday local time (7 p.m. Sunday ET) according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters at a hastily convened press conference that there were no immediate reports of heavy damage, and that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had ordered relevant ministries to gather information on the quake.

However, no tsunami warning was issued, reports Efe news.

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga says there were no reports of major damage as of 8:30 a.m.

All trains and subways across Osaka city were halted, and the bullet train that travels through the region was halted as far as Fukuoka in southern Japan.