Torrential rain triggers landslides, floods in Japan

Tokyo: Torrential rain stemming from typhoon Etau has triggerred floods and landslides in Japan and sparked mass-evacuations from the hardest-hit areas, the media reported on Thursday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), as early as Wednesday, issued an emergency alert for residents living in Tochigi prefecture, 40 km north of Tokyo, Xinhua news agency reported.

The warning was for residents in the areas to be on high alert for flooding and possible landslides with the JMA having expanded its warning for more eastern areas by early Thursday, as a landslide destroyed a home in Kanuma city in Tochigi province.

Next door the Kinugawa River, in Ibaraki, burst its banks at two locations, causing widespread flooding in the area, the JMA said.

The weather agency also said that rain had reached more than 500 mm in some parts of Tochigi in 24 hours since its first advisory on Wednesday, which is double the usual amount for this time of year.

It said that it still expects precipitation of up to 200 mm in Tokyo and its suburbs, with the heavy rain expected to stretch up to the northeast through early Friday morning.

Following the emergency evacuation of around 90,000 people from their homes in Tochigi, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe deployed officials from the necessary government offices to focus on rapid disaster response and safeguarding people’s lives.