See More on Facebook

Current affairs

Sapporo blast due to fumes from 120 emptied spray cans

The owner has since apologised and claimed responsibility.


Written by

Updated: December 19, 2018

The chief of a Japanese real estate firm apologised on Tuesday (Dec 18), admitting that his employees had caused an explosion that injured 42 and collapsed a building in Sapporo on the northernmost island of Hokkaido.

The two-storey wooden building, which housed an izakaya – a bar-cum-eatery – called Umi Sakura, a clinic and a real estate firm, collapsed in the blast that occurred at about 8.30pm (7.30pm in Singapore) on Sunday. The fire took six hours to put out, reports said.

The force of the explosion shattered glass windows in at least 20 buildings, some as far as 100m away, and damaged at least 26 vehicles.

The deodoriser is used to remove odours at properties managed by the company. The employees had been emptying the aerosol cans in a bid to reduce the office inventory before renovations that were scheduled to start on Tuesday. As many as 200 spray cans had been kept at the office.

Japanese media cited police sources as saying that all the windows and doors of the office were closed, and the fumes built up for hours in the office. The explosion occurred when an employee switched on a water heater.

“We want to offer our most sincere apologies to those who were injured in the explosion, as well as those who sustained damage to their property,” Mr Sato said, offering a deep bow in contrition.

Nobody died in the blast. The 42 injured were 19 males and 23 females, with the youngest just one year old. Only one – a 33-year-old employee of the real estate firm – was seriously injured.

The explosion caused a blackout in the building, and a fire that spread within minutes obstructed the stairway of the izakaya.

This forced several patrons and employees who were on the upper floor to jump from the second-storey window, moments before the izakaya collapsed on its side.

“If the izakaya had not collapsed, all of us who were remaining would have been burnt to death,” Kyodo News Agency cited a 49-year-old customer as saying.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Current affairs

Japan Olympic chief denies corruption allegations

The president of the Japanese IOC says there is nothing to worry about. Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), on Tuesday rejected allegations of corruption related to Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, telling a Tokyo press conference, “There’s nothing to be suspicious of.” Takeda, 71, made the remark after French judicial authorities launched a full-scale investigation into suspicions that Takeda, who was then head of the bid committee, was involved in the corruption. The JOC told the media before the press conference that it would not hold a question-and-answer session, on the grounds that the French investigation was ongoing. Takeda read out a prepared statement instead. According to French media, the focus of prosecutors’ investigation is whether a total of about ¥230 million (


By The Japan News
January 16, 2019

Current affairs

China accuses Canada of double standard

Beijing slams Justin Trudeau’s criticism of drug smuggler’s death sentence. China on Tuesday expressed strong dissatisfaction at the Canadian prime minister’s criticism of a drug smuggler’s death sentence, urging the country to respect China’s judicial sovereignty and stop making irresponsible remarks. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that drug crimes are recognized worldwide as serious crimes and are extremely harmful to the society. She said all countries severely crack down on the issue and so does China. Remarks made by a “relevant Canadian person” lack the spirit of rule by law, she said, urging the Canadian side to correct the mistakes and stop making irresponsible remarks. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian national convicted of smuggling over 222 kilograms of methamphetamines, was sentenced to death on Monday at


By China Daily
January 16, 2019

Current affairs

Rohingya issue will not be solved easily

Bangladeshi foreign minister says the road to a solution will be long and paved with difficulty. The much-talked-about Rohingya issue will not be solved easily, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said on Monday. “I have directed to conduct a study on the Rohingyas which will try to find out the impacts of Rohingyas on our country’s social, economic and security system,” said the minister while talking to the journalists at his office in Dhaka. Urging the international community to step forward for a logical solution to the crisis, he said, “The international community has also responsibilities to solve the crisis. If Rohingya crisis is continued, interest of everybody including India and China will be hampered.” India and Russia are much positive over the Rohingya issue right now, the minister informed. About the resistance from several countries including China over the issue, he s


By Daily Star
January 15, 2019

Current affairs

Lion Air JT610 cockpit voice recorder found

Investigators hope that the discovery will shed new light on the deadly crash. The National Transportation Safety Committee announced on Monday that the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from last year’s Lion Air crash had been found. First Fleet Navy Information Agency head Arba Agung told The Jakarta Post that an agency team was being sent to retrieve the CVR from the location where it was found. The team will first clear the mud around the CVR before it can retrieve it. The committee said in a statement that the CVR had stopped transmitting a location signal as the battery would have lasted only 73 days after the Oct. 29 crash. Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Luhut  Pandjaitan also confirmed the finding. “It’s very good progress. I think the information in the box might make things clear,” Luhut said. The Lion Air plane, which cr


By The Jakarta Post
January 15, 2019

Current affairs

Reuters journalists to remain in jail

Myanmar court rejects appeal against 7-yr sentences; ruling decried as another injustice. This Reuters report originally appeared in the Daily Star.  A Myanmar court yesterday rejected the appeal of two Reuters reporters sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of breaking the Official Secrets Act, saying the defence had not provided sufficient evidence to show they were innocent. Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were convicted by a lower court in September in a landmark case that has raised questions about Myanmar’s progress towards democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates. “It was a suitable punishment,” said High Court Judge Aung Naing, referring to the seven-year prison term meted out by the lower court. The defence has the option of making a further appeal to the country’s supreme co


By Daily Star
January 14, 2019

Current affairs

Indian Army does not want LGBT service members

The Indian army chief said that the Indian Army is not ready to accept homosexuals in its service. India’s army chief General Bipin Rawat told reporters on Thursday that the Indian armed forces was not ready to have homosexuals in the service despite a law which decriminalized homosexuality being passed last year. “For LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues, in the Army these are not acceptable,” Rawat told reporters during an annual press briefing. “We are neither modernised, nor westernised. LGBT issues are not acceptable to us.” India’s Supreme Court decriminalized gay sex in a unanimous ruling last September prompting massive celebration for the country’s gay community. The law, known as Section 477 of the criminal code, had existed since the colonial period and similar vestiges of British rule exist throughout South and Southeast Asia.


By Cod Satrusayang
January 11, 2019