• Kyodo

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A joyful hanami (cherry blossom-viewing) party in Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture, on Tuesday turned into a major accident after a cassette gas cartridge for a portable stove exploded, injuring several people.

In the accident, which occurred around 2:15 p.m. in a park in the city, six men in a group of eight university students sustained burns to their faces and arms, with three of the men hospitalized, the Miyazaki Prefectural Police said.

The police said the injuries were not life-threatening.

They said they were looking into the circumstances of how the gas cartridge exploded.

In the city of Miyazaki, the local weather observatory officially declared the blooming of cherry blossoms on Sunday — nine days later than average and the latest on record.

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