A huge blaze fanned by strong winds has engulfed at least 140 buildings in central Japan, local media report. YouTube videos show huge flames engulfing houses and plumes of thick black smoke. Hundreds have been advised to evacuate.
The fire started at 10:30 local time (01:30 GMT) on Thursday in a Chinese restaurant in the center of Itoigawa City, Niigata prefecture, with a population of about 45,000 residents, local media report.
The blaze was whipped up by strong winds reaching up to 90km/h, Japanese NHK broadcaster reported, citing weather officials. So far the fire has spread to at least 140 buildings. Read more