Heavy rain hits Kyushu; one injured

Kyodo News

Heavy rain Friday drenched wide areas of Kyushu, sparking a landslide that injured an elderly woman and also causing a rise in river levels that isolated a community, both in Kumamoto Prefecture, officials said.

Train services on Kyushu Railway Co., or JR Kyushu, were disrupted in various parts of the region. The Ground Self-Defense Force sent five soldiers to Kumamoto Prefecture to engage in rescue efforts, at the request of Gov. Yoshiko Shiotani.

A rain system that extends from central China to Kyushu has increased precipitation in line with the annual rainy season, bringing heavy downpours, the Meteorological Agency said.

A record 85 mm of rain per hour fell on 1,280-meter Mount Okanamine in Kumamoto Prefecture on Friday morning. Hourly rainfall reached 62 mm in Shimabara, Nagasaki Prefecture, and 56 mm in the town of Gokase, Miyazaki Prefecture.

Cumulative precipitation since Thursday night topped 200 mm in some parts of Kyushu, the agency said.

Weather forecasters predict 50-80 mm of hourly rainfall through Saturday in various parts of Kyushu and western Japan, mainly Shikoku and the Kinki region centering on Osaka.

Cumulative rainfall through Saturday morning may reach 350 mm in northern Kyushu, 250 mm each in southern Kyushu and Shikoku, and 150 mm in the Kinki region.

A landslide hit a house in the city of Uki, Kumamoto Prefecture, shortly after 10 a.m., causing Kiyoko Goto, 82, to break her right leg, police said.

In the town of Misato, also in Kumamoto Prefecture, heavy rain and a rise in river water levels swamped some roads, isolating 130 households from the outside. Gov. Shiotani requested the GSDF dispatch to help rescue residents.

JR Kyushu said train services came to a halt temporarily on conventional lines in Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures.

Two bullet trains ran behind schedule for up to 15 minutes on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line between Kagoshima-Chuo and Shin-Yatsushiro stations.

Meanwhile, in Fukui Prefecture, a rain-triggered landslide buried a national highway in the town of Echizen. The mud-covered road was closed to traffic, but no casualties were reported, police said.