Several government inspection teams led by ministers and vice ministers went on a day trip Friday to inspect areas hit hard by powerful Typhoon Tokage.

At least 77 people were killed and 14 are still missing. Two-thirds of the dead and missing were aged 60 or older, according to a Kyodo News poll as of 9 p.m. The typhoon wreaked the worst damage in Japan in 25 years.

Of five people who were missing in northern Kyoto Prefecture, three were found dead Friday morning, bringing the death toll there to 12.

A 65-year-old man was also found dead in Takamatsu on Shikoku Island.

Disaster management minister Yoshitaka Murata led a 28-member team of government officials on a trip to the cities of Sumoto, Hyogo Prefecture, and Miyazu, Kyoto Prefecture.

About 500 police officers resumed searching for the missing early Friday in northern Kyoto Prefecture and the Self-Defense Forces provided water trucks for the roughly 5,000 households still without water in Miyazu.

The prefecture suffered the largest number of reported casualties from the typhoon. It also recorded the highest levels of rainfall in such northern cities as Maizuru and Kyotango.

In the northern Hyogo Prefecture city of Toyooka, about 60 people were rescued from their houses, which had been isolated by the collapse of embankments along a major river through the city center. About 800 households were stranded at one time.

Around 3,500 people spent the night at about 40 evacuation centers throughout the city. They began returning home after the muddy water that soaked more than 50 percent of all houses there subsided.

Murata’s team was to fly over Toyooka on its way to Miyazu from Sumoto.

Meanwhile, Kazuo Kitagawa, minister of land, infrastructure and transport, left for Toyooka, and three senior vice ministers left on separate trips to the prefectures of Kagawa and Kochi in Shikoku as well as Okayama and Hiroshima.

Before departing, Kitagawa told a news conference: “We need to examine if the conventional predictions on the levels of rainfall and water volume are really relevant. Rainfall and water volume are likely to continue outpacing predictions.”

He said he plans to compare the ministry’s current standards on building river embankments and other flood control measures with the results of his survey.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the government will appropriate sufficient money for relief and reconstruction measures from its reserve funds for the current fiscal year.

“We will have to consider compiling a supplementary budget if expenses surpass the reserves by any means,” he said. “But (we) would like to prioritize using existing budgets and the reserves.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.