Mitsubishi Materials Corp., a chemical company, said an explosion and fire at a factory in Yokkaichi, western Japan, killed five people.
At least 12 more people were injured in the blast, Ranko Hirai, a spokeswoman for the company, said by telephone in Tokyo. The explosion occurred at 2:05 p.m. today in a facility that makes silicon used in the manufacture of wafers for semiconductors, Eiji Komai, a Mitsubishi Materials spokesman, said.
The company is investigating the cause of the blast and damage caused at the factory, which employees 170 full-time workers, Komai said. Sumco Corp., which makes silicon wafers for the semiconductor industry, is one of the customers for the silicon, he said.
Mitsubishi Materials fell 1.1 percent to 376 yen at the close of trading in Tokyo. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 1.5 percent.