SINGAPORE: One person died and 17 others were injured in an explosion at a restaurant in Japan's Fukushima prefecture on Thursday (Jul 30) morning, according to reports in local media.
Police said the blast occurred shortly before 9am (8am, Singapore time) on Thursday, NHK reported.
The Japanese public broadcaster reported police and fire department officials as saying that a body was found at the site. Two people were seriously hurt and 15 others have minor injuries.
The Onyasai restaurant in Fukushima was undergoing repairs, according to its owner, casual dining group Colowide, which operates a chain of the restaurants.
The company issued a statement apologising to the victims and said it was working with authorities to determine the cause.
The explosion occurred in an area populated with residential properties and restaurants, Japan Times reported the police and fire department as saying. Investigators at the scene said they suspect the explosion was caused by a gas leak, Japan Times added.
Police said propane gas had spewed out of several cylinders that had toppled over near the restaurant, NHK reported.
TV footage and photographs of the site of the explosion showed only the frame of a building was left standing, with windows shattered in nearby buildings and pieces of metal and glass scattered around the block.
Toho Bank staff members said that two employees and two customers at a bank branch near the site of the explosion were injured, NHK reported.
The bank branch was damaged and staff and customers were evacuated, according to the staff members.
The blast reportedly also caused damage to a nearby high school, NHK reported.
The school told NHK many north-facing windows were shattered.