A sinkhole caused a large portion of a street in Japan's south-western city of Fukuoka to collapse on 8 November. The huge cave-in measuring around 20 metres by 15 metres formed outside the JR Hakata railway station disrupted traffic and affected banking systems.

Police and the city office said that there have been no reports of any injuries. Office buildings bordering the sinkhole were evacuated as a preventive measure.

"The electricity went off suddenly and I heard a loud boom," a witness told Kyodo news agency. "I went outside and saw a huge hole."

Construction work was being conducted near the site to extend the city subway system's Nanakuma Line. Authorities are investigating whether it was the cause for the collapse. Nearby residences and offices have been asked to switch off their gas connections till further notice.

TV footage showed two separate holes steadily expanding as they sucked in asphalt and soil around 5am local time.

"It was a bit dark outside, and my first impression was, 'Is the road really falling?'" a young man who saw the sinkhole form told public broadcaster NHK.

"When I saw it, two holes were already there, and they continued to grow bigger. I got scared the most when a traffic light fell at an intersection close to where I was standing. I felt, 'I have to get out of here,'" he said.

The underground pipes that broke as a result of the incident caused the hole to fill up with water.

The Bank of Fukuoka said its online systems were temporarily disrupted by the accident while the Fukuoka airport also experienced short-term blackouts due to which ticket machines stopped working briefly.

Underground construction work has caused a number of road collapses. In June, a portion of a park along with several roads collapsed in Nagoya city due to a tunnel construction nearby. In December 2015, part of a footpath caved due to poor construction work.