9 Jan 2014

Blast at Japanese chemical factory

9:01 pm on 9 January 2014

An explosion at a chemical factory in Japan has killed at least five people and injured a dozen more, according to police.

The blast happened early on Thursday afternoon at the plant in Yokkaichi, central Japan, when maintenance crews were working on a heat exchanger used in the production of silicon products, a spokesperson at the plant told AFP.

"Five people are dead. Twelve people have been injured, of whom nine sustained only minor injuries," a police spokesperson in Mie prefecture said.

The plant run by Mitsubishi Materials makes parts for solar panels and automobiles, dealing with polymers made from silicone, hydrogen and chlorine.

The company has over 22,000 employees and operations worldwide including in the United States, Brazil, Germany and India.