TOKYO (Reuters) – At least one person was killed and three others were missing in landslides triggered by heavy rains in southwestern Japan, prompting authorities to urge tens of thousands to evacuate their homes as more landslides and floods threatened.
Japan has experienced unusually heavy rains in various parts of the world in recent days, raising new concerns about the pace of climate change.
Satoshi Sugimoto, director of the forecasting department at the Japan Meteorological Agency, told reporters: “The rain is getting heavier than what we’ve seen before.”
A woman in her 70s died after a landslide hit her home in Fukuoka Prefecture, while three people were missing after a landslide hit two houses in Saga Prefecture, public broadcaster NHK reported.
The highest heavy rain warning has been issued for Fukuoka and Oita prefectures, part of Kyushu island.
At least eight rivers have flooded and dozens of mudslides have occurred in the region hit by rains that killed dozens in July 2017, he said.
Officials have urged tens of thousands of residents to evacuate areas at risk of more landslides and flooding, media reported.
Some parts of Fukuoka have received more than 500 millimeters of rain since Friday, more than normal for July, media reported, and another 200 millimeters is expected by early Tuesday, Sugimoto said.
Toyota Motor Corp. said it would suspend night shift operations at three factories in Fukuoka on Monday because of the rain.
However, the weather did not affect production lines at Sony Group, Renesas Technology and Nissan Motor, the companies told Reuters.
Government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said at a regular press conference that 6,740 households were without electricity and 80 homes were without water.
Shinkansen bullet train service between Hiroshima and Fukuoka’s Hakata stations was suspended but continued into the morning.
(Reporting by Daniel Lucink, Satoshi Sugiyama and Mariko Katsumura; Editing by Steven Coates, Robert Birsle)