The extensive damage left by Typhoon Hagibis that swept central and eastern Japan, bringing record-breaking rainfall that destroyed embankments on more than 50 rivers in seven prefectures and flooded nearby areas, is yet another indication that extreme weather is becoming more frequent and catastrophic, overwhelming anti-disaster measures built on past experience.

National and local governments need to fundamentally review their defense against torrential rains and flooding in light of the changing extreme weather conditions, which are feared to grow more deadly as climate change deepens.

The full extent of the damage from the deadly typhoon, the most powerful to hit Japan in decades, is still unclear days after it swept through huge swaths of the country. More than 80 people in 12 prefectures were left dead or missing — many of them drowned when their neighborhoods were flooded after river embankments in their areas collapsed following the massive rainfall.