TOKYO  - A blast at a chemical plant in western Japan killed one worker and injured at least fifteen others on Sunday, police said.  The accident occurred at a factory operated by comprehensive chemical manufacturer Mitsui Chemicals in Yamaguchi prefecture, some 700 kilometres (434 miles) southwest of Tokyo, an official at Yamaguchi prefectural police said. The deceased was a 22-year-old male employee, police said, with Jiji Press identifying him as Shota Sunakawa. Nine other company employees and workers for subcontract companies were severely or slightly injured, while at least four residents in the neighbourhood were slightly injured, police said.

“The fire is not extinguished yet as the fire department is cooling the plant while waiting for combustible materials to burn out,” he told AFP.

“It may take more than a few days for us to find out the cause of the accident, but we are investigating it as a case of professional negligence resulting in death and injury,” he said.

The plant had been manufacturing materials to make adhesives, he said.