Rescuers have found three more bodies in a collapsed tunnel on a major Japanese highway, taking the death toll to nine.
At least three vehicles were buried on Sunday when concrete ceiling panels crashed down inside the nearly five-kilometre tunnel which passes through hills near Mount Fuji, 80 kilometres west of Tokyo.
Witnesses spoke of terrifying scenes as at least one vehicle burst into flames inside one of Japan's longest road tunnels, sending out clouds of blinding, acrid smoke.
Five blackened bodies were found inside a single vehicle. Emergency workers also recovered the body of a truck driver, identified by broadcaster NHK as Tatsuya Nakagawa, 50, who had telephoned his company to ask for help.
Later, the bodies of an elderly man and two elderly women were recovered from a crushed vehicle in the Sasago tunnel on the Chuo Expressway, Kyodo News said.
Emergency workers equipped with breathing apparatus on Sunday battled around a third of the way into the tunnel, where they found 110 metres of concrete panels had fallen.
Hours later engineers warned the structure could be unstable, forcing rescuers to halt their work as a team of experts assessed the danger.
Dozens of people on Sunday abandoned their vehicles on the Tokyo-bound section of carriageway, and ran for the exits.
Internal information regarding JR Kyoto Station was made publicly accessible online when the station floor plans, revealing the locations of inactive gas fire extinguishing equipment, were posted on the Google Groups bulletin board service, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. (The Japan News )
Japan will go ahead with research whaling in the northwestern Pacific for fiscal 2014, but by reducing catches following an International Court of Justice ruling that ordered the country to stop whaling in the Antarctic Ocean, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Friday. (The Japan News )
Hatsune Miku, a computer-generated Japanese pop star who performs as a hologram, is to support some of Lady Gaga's tour of North America next month, the U.S. songstress has announced on Twitter. (Japan Today )
Tochigi prefectural police said Thursday that they are questioning a man in his 30s over the murder of a 7-year-old girl in December 2005. Japanese media quoted police as saying that the man, who was arrested for dealing in fake brand-name goods, has hinted at his involvement in the murder. (Japan Today )