Ja­pan sink­hole tied to sub­way pro­ject

Toronto Star - - WORLD - MARI YA­M­AGUCHI THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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

Au­thor­i­ties said no in­juries were re­ported from the pre-sun­rise col­lapse in down­town 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 on­go­ing sub­way con­struc­tion nearby. A smaller sink­hole oc­curred in Fukuoka in 2014 at an­other lo­ca­tion of the sub­way con­struc­tion.

Fukuoka, a city of more than 1.5 mil­lion peo­ple, is about 1,000 kilo­me­tres south­west 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.

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.”

KY­ODO/REUTERS

No in­juries were re­ported in the dawn cave-in of a down­town street in Fukuoka, a city of 1.5 mil­lion peo­ple about 1,000 kilo­me­tres south of Tokyo.

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