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Fatal blast at Japan chemical plant

An explosion at a chemical factory in central Japan has killed at least five people and injured more than 10 others, it has been reported.

Police said the explosion occurred at Japanese metal and chemical company Mitsubishi Materials' Yokkaichi plant during maintenance work.

Fire department officials said 17 people injured in the blast were taken to nearby hospitals. Police said two were dead, while Japanese media put the death toll at five. Conditions of the injured were not immediately known.

Mie prefectural police said investigators suspect a hydrogen explosion was caused by a chemical reaction when plant workers were rinsing heat exchange equipment at a silicone plant on the complex in Yokkaichi City, about 220 miles west of Tokyo.


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