More than 40 injured in explosion in Japan's Sapporo: Kyodo

Explosion near pub in Japan injures dozens

Explosion near pub in Japan injures dozens

Sapporo is part of Japan's large northern island, Hokkaido, and has a population of almost 2 million people.

Of the 42 reported casualties, 41 suffered light injuries while one has been seriously injured.

NHK cited the elder sister of a waitress, who has been rushed to hospital, as saying: "She was told to jump off from the second floor, where she had been, and so she did".

Japanese police were investigating on Monday (Dec 17) the cause of a powerful blast that ripped through a restaurant in the country's north overnight, injuring 42 people and damaging surrounding buildings.

Firefighters attend the scene in Sapporo.

The cause of the explosion in the Toyohira district is not yet known.

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Police officers were keeping people from approaching the damaged building out of fear of additional blasts, the Japan Times reported. Images on social media initially showed flames rising from the area with debris scattered across the ground.

The police said 19 males and 23 females, aged from 1 to their 60s, were injured.

An employee at the real estate agency was quoted by people close to an investigation into the case as saying that "the explosion occurred after bacteria- and odor-eliminating gas was removed from over 100 spray cans".

The Hokkaido Police Department and other emergency responders have issued evacuation orders to nearby diners and residents, warning of the possibility of further explosions.

It is still unclear what caused the blast, but a local witness suggested it was triggered by a gas leak.

A nearby worker told the same outlet that the power of the explosion shattered the windows of the building he was working in.

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