National

Evacuation advisories issued as heavy rain drenches wide swaths of Japan

Kyodo

Heavy rain hit a wide area on the Pacific side of the Japanese archipelago Wednesday, disrupting traffic and prompting local authorities to issue evacuation advisories for over 360,000 people in central regions due to possible flooding.

The body of a woman in her 60s was found in the sea off Kaizuka, Osaka Prefecture, on Wednesday morning. The woman’s bicycle, believed to have been used for newspaper deliveries, was left near a flooded river in the city. Police suspect she had been washed away.

The torrential rain was due to a low-pressure system coupled with a rainy season front, the Meteorological Agency said. It warned of possible landslides in Oita and Kumamoto prefectures in Kyushu, where an earthquake with an intensity of 4 to upper 5 on the Japanese scale of 7 hit Tuesday night.

Heavy rain and strong winds also disrupted some railway services, including sections of the Tokaido Shinkansen Line.

The towns of Shirahama and Kozagawa in Wakayama Prefecture saw record downpours of over 80 mm per hour. The total amount of rainfall exceeded 100 mm in wide areas of Kyushu as well as sections of western and central Japan.

The local government in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, issued an evacuation advisory for around 367,240 residents in 136,311 households over the possibility of the Tsuribashi River flooding. Evacuation advisories were also issued for other areas in Shizuoka, as well as in Mie and Wakayama prefectures.

Rainfall over the 24-hour period through 6 a.m. Thursday was expected to reach 200 mm in some parts of the Tokai region centering on Nagoya and 180 mm in the Kinki region centering on Osaka and the Kanto-Koshin region, including the Tokyo metropolitan area, the agency said.

The agency also announced that the rainy season appears to have started in the Hokuriku region on the Sea of Japan coast and in the Tohoku region, meaning this year’s rainy season has been declared in all parts of the country apart from Hokkaido, which does not experience a rainy season.