Abe cancels visit to landslide-hit Hiroshima

JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has canceled his Sunday visit to Hiroshima, apparently to avoid disrupting the search and rescue operation launched after deadly landslides hit the city last week.

Abe, who is being criticized for playing golf and vacationing while responding to the disaster, was slated to inspect damaged areas by helicopter and visit an elementary school in Asaminami Ward that has since become a shelter.

Mainstream Japanese newspapers carried similar reports online describing Abe’s cancelation without attribution.

Abe apparently decided to cancel to avoid halting the search and rescue operation, which involves the Self-Defense Forces, local police, firefighters and volunteers.

The death toll from the landslides, which struck early Wednesday, had reached 50 as of Sunday morning with 38 unaccounted for.