• Kyodo


Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday pledged to do everything possible to help aid recovery efforts, during his visit to Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture, which was hit by a deadly mudslide earlier this month.

Ten bodies have been recovered so far, while 18 others remain missing after torrential rain triggered the massive mudslide on July 3 in the hot spring resort town on the Pacific coast.

“It was a scene beyond my imagination,” said Suga after he visited the hard-hit area, adding “the government will do everything in its power” to help.

He also called for speeding up research on linear rainbands that are known to bring torrential downpours.

Some 1,700 people, including police, firefighters and Self-Defense Forces personnel, continue to search for the missing in areas where buildings collapsed and mud and debris have piled up.

Earlier in the day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said the government will do its “utmost” to help with search efforts and “respond expeditiously to rebuild the lives of those affected.”

The number of households affected by water stoppages has declined to about 160 from 500 on Saturday, while 160 households are still without power, according to local governments.

It is suspected that the mudslide, which occurred on the morning of July 3, was exacerbated by an excessive accumulation of soil in the area, with the Shizuoka prefectural government saying a real estate management company had brought in soil exceeding the reported amount and mixed industrial waste with it.

Some 56,000 cubic meters of soil in total, mostly that left behind by the company, collapsed into a nearby river, traveling a distance of about 2 kilometers. More than 130 houses and buildings were destroyed or damaged.

The now-liquidated company is also suspected of not having installed drainage facilities at the site as required by a Shizuoka Prefecture ordinance, according to the local government.

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