Injured in Osaka, Japan earthquake

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Three people were confirmed dead and nearly 100 injured after a strong quake hit Osaka on Monday morning, rattling one of Japan's industrial heartlands and halting trains and factories across the region.

Japanese disaster authorities say at least three people have been found dead and 41 others have been injured by an quake in western Japan.

The jolts shattered windows, knocked over walls, and resulted in several residential building fires.

Japan lies in a particularly earthquake-prone region and accounts for around 20% of quakes worldwide of magnitude 6.0 or more.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says a quake with preliminary magnitude of 5.9 struck Monday around 8 a.m.

"I was very scared", Katsufumi Abe, who was at Osaka's main railway station when the quake struck, told Kyodo news. Japanese media reported one of the likely victims is a 9-year-old girl found at a school. An 84-year-old man in nearby Ibaraki died after a bookshelf fell on top of him at home, according to city officials.

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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. The government confirmed two of the deaths.

More than 170,000 homes are without power, but no abnormalities have been reported at the region's nuclear power plants and no tsunami warning has been issued.

The Japanese government had not received reports of major damage as of 8.30am, spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Railway services in Osaka, Shiga, Kyoto and Nara, both high speed bullet trains and local rail services, were halted. In 1995, a magnitude 6.9 natural disaster killed more than 6000 people when it struck in neighbouring Kobe.

A massive 9.0 quake hit much further to the north in March 2011, triggering a huge tsunami that killed some 18,000 people and triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster in a quarter of a century at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Japanese Self-Defense Force fighter jets and helicopters are heading to the area to gather information.

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