• Kyodo

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Flooding in Nakamura, Kochi Prefecture, brought on by Typhoon Linfa in late May was worse than it should have been because the tender of a river floodgate fell asleep on the job, it was learned Thursday.

Some 12 hectares of land and 18 homes were flooded, according to officials at the local Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry office in charge of rivers and roads.

The officials said they will explain to residents what happened and compensate for any damages.

According to the officials, the 62-year-old watchman was supposed to be manning the floodgate on the night of May 30 because of the approaching storm.

However, he had been drinking at home before starting his shift and was asleep on duty at around 4 a.m. the following morning, when the water level of the Ushirogawa River had risen and the floodgate needed to be closed to prevent water from flowing back up a tributary.

As a result, the river flooded its banks. A ministry official arrived at the scene and closed the floodgate at around 6 a.m.

The office has local residents handle the opening and closing of the floodgate, and while two people were supposed to be on duty that night, only one was there.

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