The death on Monday of a 9-year-old girl in Osaka Prefecture highlights the potential dangers of violating building codes and of concrete-block walls, which can turn lethal when major earthquakes strike.

Following the incident in the city of Takatsuki, in which a 40-meter-long wall surrounding a school's swimming pool collapsed and crushed the girl, the Takatsuki Municipal Government apologized and admitted that the wall was in violation of building codes.

City officials said the total height of the structure was 3.5 meters — a 1.6-meter wall on top of a 1.9-meter concrete foundation — exceeding the legal cap of 2.2 meters. It also lacked legally required support blocks, they said.