600mm falls in Japan, 150 000 ordered out

Tokyo. — About 150 000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes yesterday as torrential rains, flooding and mudslides hit eastern Japan, local media reported. Ten people were reported to be missing, including at least nine residents who were swept away after the Kinugawa River breached its banks in Joso city, 40km northeast of Tokyo. The flood-waters inundated hundreds of houses and left about 200 residents stranded, news agency Jiji Press reported, citing local authorities.

One woman was missing after mudslides triggered by heavy rain struck her house in Kanuma city, broadcaster NHK said.

About 100 people in the region have been rescued by helicopter, Jiji said. Television footage showed a bridge washed away by a swollen river in the northeastern town of Minami Aizu and some houses swept away in Kanuma city.

In the city of Nikko, north of Tokyo, one man was feared dead after he fell into a ditch and suffered “cardiopulmonary arrest”, broadcaster NHK reported.

The total rainfall has topped 600mm in the city since Monday, a level not seen in decades, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The region “is facing an imminent grave danger”, Takuya Deshimaru, a meteorological agency official, told a news conference yesterday, referring to the prefectures of Ibaraki and Tochigi. The agency was warning of further mudslides and swollen rivers in eastern and northeastern Japan with heavy rain pounding the region even after Typhoon Etau weakened into an extratropical depression late on Wednesday.

The season’s 18th typhoon hit central Japan on Wednesday, injuring 11 people. —Agencies.