Massive sinkhole forms in city street in Japan

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Parts of a main street collapsed in the heart of a major city in southern Japan, creating a massive sinkhole and cutting off power, water and gas supplies.

The authorities said no injuries were reported from the pre-sunrise collapse in central Fukuoka, which created a sinkhole more than half the size of an Olympic pool in the middle of the business district.

The cause of the collapse is under investigation, Fukuoka officials said, but they linked it to subway construction nearby.

A smaller sinkhole happened in Fukuoka in 2014 at another location of the subway construction.

Fukuoka, a city of more than 1.5 million people, is about 620 miles south-west of Tokyo. The massive cave-in appeared in the city’s bustling Hakata district, a major business and entertainment centre, with muddy underground water flowing into the hole.

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The incident prompted the evacuation of some residents in nearby buildings. Officials were concerned that further erosion inside the sinkhole could prompt nearby structures to collapse.

“An accident like this is unheard of, one that should not have happened,” Fukuoka mayor Soichiro Takashima said.

“We must prevent secondary accidents, and will do our utmost to restore important infrastructure.”

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