One person died after being swept away by a swollen river and six people, including some children, have been reported missing after heavy rain hit western Japan on Wednesday, officials said.
More than 60,000 residents of Hiroshima and Shimane prefectures were temporarily advised to evacuate.
In Fukuoka Prefecture, six people are feared to have been buried in mud or swept away in swollen rivers in the city of Asakura and Uki, local police said Wednesday evening, adding that the missing include children.
In Hiroshima, a 93-year-old man was found dead in a river in the city’s Asakita Ward. He is believed to have been swept away when water levels rose due to torrential rain that pummeled the two prefectures earlier.
Another man in his 60s suffered a minor injury after he was hit by a landslide in Masuda, Shimane Prefecture while he was evacuating, police said.
In Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed relevant ministries and agencies to grasp the situation and come up with quick measures to prevent further damage in the affected regions.
The city of Hamada in Shimane, which faces the Sea of Japan, saw hourly precipitation of over 80 mm Wednesday morning, as a seasonal rain front brought in moist air from the East China Sea and caused a strip of storm clouds to develop, the Meteorological Agency said.
The agency issued an emergency warning for heavy rain over parts of Shimane Prefecture on Wednesday morning.
“(Shimane) is seeing really heavy rain like it has never seen before,” an agency official said at a news conference held at 7 a.m. Wednesday. “This is an extraordinary situation in which serious crises are approaching. Some disasters, such as landslides and floods, may already be occurring.”
The emergency warning — issued in the cities of Hamada and Masuda and the towns of Onan and Tsuwano — was lifted before noon.
The prefectural governments issued evacuation orders and advisories Wednesday to a total of 28,000 residents in 13,000 households in Hamada, Masuda and Onan, and 36,000 residents in 16,000 households in five municipalities in Hiroshima Prefecture, including the city of Akitakata.
West Japan Railway Co. said the JR Sanin Line suspended operations Wednesday morning between Hamada and Masuda stations as sediment under the rails was found running off at two locations.
Service on the JR Sanko Line, which connects the cities of Miyoshi and Gotsu in Hiroshima Prefecture, was also suspended.