Japan chemical plant blast threatens diaper supply: report

Black smoke rises from burning flames at a Nippon Shokubai Co. chemical plant in the coastal industrial area of Himeji, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) west of Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

TOKYO: An explosion at a large Japanese chemical plant has sparked fears of a global shortage of disposable diapers, said a report Sunday.

A tank at chemical producer Nippon Shokubai's factory in Himeji city, Hyogo prefecture, exploded Saturday, killing a firefighter and injuring 35 other emergency service workers who responded to a callout, the fire service said.

The company has a 20-percent global share of superabsorbent polymer, which is used in the production of diapers, according to the Sankei Shimbun daily.

The newspaper reorted that if the operation of the factory is suspended for a long time, it could affect production of disposable diapers.

The company produces 320,000 tonnes of superabsorbent polymer at the Himeji plant annually.

Nippon Shokubai had planned to boost its production to meet the growing demand for disposable diapers in China, the paper said.





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