The death toll on the typhoon-hit island of Izu-Oshima rose to 29 Tuesday when another body was found while local authorities geared up preparations for another typhoon.
With 25 of the 29 bodies identified so far and 16 people still unaccounted for, some 1,200 police officers, firefighters and Self-Defense Forces personnel continued to search for the missing. An additional team of around 500 SDF members was expected to arrive later in the day, officials said.
As the year’s 27th typhoon, named Francisco, approached Japan from the south, a rising number of Izu-Oshima residents voluntarily left the island, which is administered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
A total of 119 residents — 80 elderly people and 39 helpers — expressed their intention to evacuate the island in a survey conducted by the Oshima town government covering around 500 elderly and disabled people.
They will evacuate aboard chartered high-speed vessels on Wednesday and Thursday and stay at welfare facilities or hotels in Tokyo until it is safe to return to the island, located around 120 km to the south, officials said.
Oshima Mayor Masafumi Kawashima said the town government will respond quickly to requests if residents in need wish to evacuate.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has already told the town government that it will accept evacuees from the volcanic island.
Also Tuesday, Oshima Kaiyo-Kokusai High School on the island sent back 166 boarders among its 223 students to their homes off the island on a high-speed vessel and closed classes for at least the rest of the week, school officials said.
The remaining 57 students whose homes are on the island will engage in volunteer activities to support people affected by the typhoon, they added.
The Meteorological Agency forecast that rain will begin to fall Thursday on Izu- Oshima as two powerful typhoons approach Japan from the south.
As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Typhoon Francisco was located about 390 km southeast of Minamidaito Island in Okinawa Prefecture and was moving northwest at a speed of 15 kph.
The typhoon was packing winds of up to 162 kph.
It could affect western and eastern Japan over the weekend, the agency said.
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