One dead, 2 missing in Japan after heavy rain

People use their umbrellas to shelter from the rain as they walk through Shibuya district in Tokyo on June 2, 2023. – AFP pic, June 3, 2023.

HEAVY rain across parts of Japan has killed one person and left two missing, authorities said today, with thousands issued evacuation warnings and left without power.

The inundation has been caused by the remnants of former Typhoon Mawar, now downgraded to a tropical storm.

A rescue team in central Aichi region’s Toyohashi, where the country’s highest-level evacuation alert was issued yesterday, “found a man approximately in his 60s in a submerged car but he was later confirmed dead,” a city official told AFP.

In western Wakayama, where several rivers burst their banks, officials told AFP that they had resumed the search for one man and one woman missing in the region.

In central and western Japan, many evacuation orders – which are non-compulsory, even at the highest level – were downgraded today as rains eased. 

But new warnings were issued in areas close to Tokyo early morning over flooding risks. 

Some 4,000 households in regions close to Tokyo were suffering power outages, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said.

Shinkansen bullet trains were still suspended between Tokyo and Nagoya, according to Japan Railway, but public broadcaster NHK said they would resume around noon. 

Yesterday, top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno warned of “extremely heavy rainfall with thunderstorms” in a wide area over the next three days.

He said one person was seriously injured and seven suffered minor injuries.

Scientists said climate change is intensifying the risk of heavy rain in Japan and elsewhere, because a warmer atmosphere holds more water.

Strong rain in 2021 triggered a devastating landslide in the central resort town of Atami that killed 27 people.

And in 2018, floods and landslides killed more than 200 people in western Japan during the country’s annual rainy season.

Earlier this week, Mawar – then a typhoon – passed just north of the Pacific island of Guam, uprooting trees and leaving tens of thousands of homes temporarily without power. – AFP, June 3, 2023.

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