National

Rains ease in southern Japan but landslide risks persist as death toll rises to two

Kyodo

The weather agency continued to warn of mudslides and flooding Thursday following downpours in southwestern Japan, while torrential rain and lightning could strike the eastern part of the country later in the day.

At its peak, evacuation orders were issued for about 1.1 million people in Kagoshima and Miyazaki Prefectures around 4 a.m. Thursday.

All evacuation orders and advisories in Miyazaki Prefecture were lifted by 11 a.m., according to the prefectural government. However, the Kagoshima Prefectural Government urged residents to keep exercising caution Thursday afternoon, citing fear of landslides.

In the city of Soo, rescuers found a missing woman in her 80s buried in a house that was engulfed by a landslide. She was later confirmed dead at the scene, bringing the total number of deaths from the heavy rain to two. The city saw a record 421 millimeters of rain on Wednesday — the highest since data was first recorded in 1977.

Since last Friday, a seasonal rain front has dumped 1,089.5 mm in Ebino in Miyazaki Prefecture, 901 mm in Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture, and 611.5 mm in Yunomae, Kumamoto Prefecture.

In the city of Kagoshima, a woman in her 70s was killed Monday after being buried by a mudslide that swamped her house.

The Meteorological Agency said the front stretches to the Pacific coast of eastern Japan, and that its low atmospheric pressure is advancing east-northeast in the area.

The atmospheric condition has become very unstable, mainly in regions facing the Pacific, the agency added. In the 24 hours through noon Friday, the agency forecast 100 mm in the Kanto-Koshin region and 70 mm in the Tokai region.