National

Japan saw record 3,451 rain- and quake-induced mudslides in 2018

Kyodo, JIJI

A record 3,451 mudslides occurred in 2018 due to torrential rains and earthquakes, according to land ministry data.

The preliminary figure is the highest since comparable data became available in 1982 and more than three times higher than the annual average of 1,015 through 2017, the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said Wednesday.

This year, mudslides occurred in 44 of the 47 prefectures, sparing only Tokyo, Tochigi and Ibaraki.

With concerns growing about an increase in downpours and typhoons linked to global warming, the government plans to enhance preparedness for people living in areas prone to natural disasters by raising awareness of the potential hazards they may face.

“Mudslide disasters from heavy rain may happen frequently in the future,” the ministry said.

According to the land ministry data, 161 people died in mudslides this year, the third-highest on record, and 1,443 homes were damaged or destroyed.

More than a third of the landslides, or 1,243, occurred in Hiroshima Prefecture, followed by 419 in Ehime, 237 in Hokkaido, 193 in Yamaguchi and 171 in Kochi.

Forty-one people were killed after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit Hokkaido in September, triggering landslides and a blackout across the island.

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