A tornado in northern Japan killed at least nine people and injured at least 12 others when it blew over prefabricated housing at a tunnel work site and other nearby homes, a fire department official said Tuesday.
The tornado hit in the town of Saroma on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido shortly after 1 p.m. (0400 GMT), said area fire department official Nobuaki Ueda.
The twister buried at least 20 people under debris from at least 10 structures that had been blown over by the storm, Ueda said.
Fire department official rescued most of the trapped people, but at least three or four remained missing, he said, reports AP.
The tornado hit an area with a radius of about 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) in Saroma, Ueda said.
Saroma is approximately 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) northeast of Tokyo.