Photographs on social media showed the sinkhole forming in front of the main railway station in the south-western city of Fukuoka shortly after 5am. By mid-morning an entire section of a main road had caved in and the 20 metre-wide hole had started to fill with water.
The city’s government said it believed the collapse was connected to construction work on a nearby underground train line.
“I went outside and saw a huge hole.”
Another local worker said: “The road has collapsed near my office and now I can’t go to work because we’ve been told to evacuate.”
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