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    Saturday, 7 July 2018

    At least 81 killed, 50 missing as torrential rain pounds Japan

    At least 50 people were missing and four in critical condition as torrential rain that has killed 81 people pounds western and central Japan, public broadcaster NHK said on Saturday, with more than 1.6 million evacuated from their homes.
    Japan's Meteorological Agency retained special weather warnings for three prefectures in the main island of Honshu, down from five, and urged vigilance against landslides, rising rivers and strong winds amid what it called "historic" rains.
    In Motoyama, a town on Shikoku island, about 600 km (373 miles) from the capital Tokyo, 583 mm (23 inches) of rain fell between Friday and Saturday morning, the agency said.
    Although a weather front had settled between western and eastern Japan, there was a risk heavy rains would continue as warm air flowed towards the front, it added, with already-saturated areas facing more rain on Sunday.
    Among the dead were a man who fell from a bridge into a river in western Hiroshima city, and a 77-year-old man in Takashima, 56 km (35 miles) east of the ancient capital of Kyoto, who was swept into a canal as he worked to remove debris, NHK said.
    Four people in Ehime, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi prefectures were in critical condition after being injured in landslides, it added.
    By Saturday morning, more than 1.6 million people had been ordered to evacuate their homes for fear of flooding and further landslides, with 3.1 million more advised to leave, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said about 48,000 police, firefighters and members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces were responding to appeals for help.The weather also hit industry. Some automakers halted production as the rain and flooding disrupted supply chains and risked workers' safety, Kyodo news agency said.Mitsubishi Motors Corp halted operations at one plant because it could not get parts, Kyodo said. Mazda Motor Corp stopped production lines at two plants so employees would not have to travel in hazardous conditions.Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued special weather warnings across four prefectures in the west of Japan’s main island of Honshu, urging vigilance against landslides, rising rivers and strong wind amid what it called "historic" rains.The agency said that, although a weather front had settled between western and eastern Japan, there was a risk that heavy rains would continue as warm air flowed towards the front. Areas already saturated faced more rain on Sunday, it said.
    A man in the far western city of Hiroshima died after falling off a bridge into a river, while a 77-year-old man in Takashima city, Shiga prefecture, was killed after being swept into a canal as he worked to remove debris, NHK said. Two other people were feared dead after being found in buildings hit by landslides, NHK said.
    The two were found in a state of "cardiopulmonary" arrest - a term used by Japanese authorities to describe apparently lifeless people before deaths have been confirmed.
    One, a 95-year-old woman, was found in her house after part of a nearby mountain collapsed. 
    The previous death toll had been put at four on Friday.
    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said around 48,000 police, firefighters and members of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces were responding to more than 100 landslides and other appeals for help.
    By Saturday morning, more than 1.6 million people were ordered to evacuate their homes amid fears of flooding and further landslides, with a further 3.1 million advised to leave, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.In Motoyama, a town in Shikoku island, 583 millimetres (23 inches) of rain fell in the 24 hours between Friday and Saturday mornings, the Meteorological Agency said.Some transport was affected in the southern-most main island of Kyushu.
    Wide parts of the expressway were covered with soil and landslide debris in the north of the island, the Kyodo news agency reported.

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