Monday morning, began with a bang six hours south of Tokyo when a preliminary 6.1 magnitude earthquake rattled the Osaka Prefecture, killing five and injuring hundreds more. This is yet another for the list of “Ring of Fire” activities early this year, including the Guatemala and Hawaii Volcanic Eruptions. The Osaka earthquake was later downgraded by the Japan Meterological Agency (JMA) to a 5.9 Magnitude and to 5.5 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake classified as a “6 Lower” at five observation stations in the Osaka-fu Hokubu Region and a “5 Upper” at another 14 stations in the Kyoto-fu Nambu. All 19 stations are located in the Osaka Prefecture.
Osaka Earthquake Tragedy in Takatsuki
Later in the week, an interesting story developed regarding one of the quake-related deaths. According to local news in Osaka, it was reported by the local education board that school authorities had known for three years a “substandard concrete wall” would be a danger if a major earthquake happened near the Juei Elementary School in Takatsuki. Unfortunately, as predicted, 9-year-old Rina Miyakewas was tragically crushed to death after the wall collapsed. Miyake was merely headed into the school when the quake struck Monday. In a related development Friday, the Japan Times reported the local education board in quake-hit Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, also said it had discovered another 15 public schools where substandard concrete walls on their premises could pose a danger to students in the event of powerful earthquakes. Seen as a major wake up call to the rest of the schools, the board added that the remaining walls “will be removed in a few weeks”.
Officials Warn Threat May Not Be Over
Worried that the earthquake could be the predecessor to a bigger one, officials warned the public to be on their toes. It was determined this week’s Osaka Earthquake was part of the same fault line that produced the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. That tragic event claimed more than 6,400 lives. Luckily, experts are claiming the probability is low for another, larger seismic movement in the coming days. They did, however, cite a magnitude 6.5 earthquake two years ago in Kumamoto Prefecture and surrounding areas of Kyushu which preceded a magnitude 7.3 temblor two days later. 50 died from the Kumamoto quakes.
The Japan Times
United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Japan Meterological Agency