MINAMATA, Kumamoto Pref. – The body of a woman who was one of two people still missing from last weekend’s flooding and mudslides in Kyushu was found Friday some 17 km from where she was swept away, bringing the death toll from the disaster to 21.
Authorities identified the victim as Shinko Hayashida, 34, who was swept away after torrential rains hit the Minamata area last weekend.
Her body was located on the coast of Shishijima Island across the Yatsushiro Sea from Minamata at around 10 a.m. The coast is about 17 km west of the mouth of the Minamata River.
Twenty other bodies had already been found and identified as of Friday in Kumamoto, Nagasaki and Kagoshima prefectures, killed by rain-triggered flooding and mudslides.
Yasuki Yoshigai, 63, also from Minamata, was still missing.
More than 600 police officers, firefighters and Ground Self-Defense Force members were joined by 150 fishing boats in scouring the Yatsushiro Sea, Minamata River and the coast. The Japan Coast Guard deployed five helicopters to conduct aerial searches.