Cover image via Reuters

A huge sinkhole has opened in the centre of a Japanese city, prompting concern for commercial buildings perched precariously on its edge.

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 road’s sudden collapse caused power cuts and gas leaks.

People working in nearby buildings, including a 7-Eleven store right on the edge of the sinkhole, were told to evacuate. There were no reports of injuries.

The city’s government said it believed the collapse was connected to construction work on a nearby underground train line.

“The electricity went off suddenly and I head a loud boom,” Kyodo news agency quoted a witness a witness as saying.

“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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