Flood Swamps Japan City, Killing Two

- Published: 11 September 2015
Flood Swamps Japan City, Killing Two

TOKYO—Two people were confirmed dead and 23 remained missing Friday after days of torrential rain triggered floods and mudslides on Japan’s main island.

The government’s disaster management agency said two deaths were confirmed as of 2 p.m. local time Friday. All but one of the 23 missing were in Joso city, about 30 miles northeast of Tokyo, parts of which were inundated Thursday after floodwaters broke through embankments. There were 25 people missing in the city initially, but three were confirmed safe later in the day, a local government spokeswoman said.

Approximately 5,800 members of the self-defense forces, the police and the fire department have been involved in the rescue missions in the areas, with 51 helicopters dispatched, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Toyota Motor Corp. halted day-shift production at three plants in the country’s northeast Friday because of the rains. Company spokeswoman Kayo Doi said employee safety was the reason for the halt, and there is no damage to the plants. Toyota models made in the region include the Aqua, known overseas as the Prius c.

The rain, triggered by Typhoon Etau, which made landfall in central Japan Wednesday, moved toward the Kanto region including Tokyo and later to the northeast Tohoku area on Friday. It caused Kinugawa River to break through a flood berm on Thursday, and local television showed several dramatic rescues live as people were lifted from the upper floors of their homes into helicopters.

The meteorological agency said flooding has been confirmed in two additional rivers in the Tohoku region. Some areas have experienced as much as 500 millimeters (20 inches) of rain since Sunday.

The disaster management agency said 926,000 people have received advisories for evacuation as of Friday morning. About 12,000 households were experiencing power outages in Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Panasonic Corp. said it shut down a display factory in the region near the floods but resumed operation Friday. The factory wasn’t damaged, a company spokeswoman said. Canon Group’s Canon Finetech Inc. said its office in Joso city wasn’t affected by the flooding and was operating as usual.

A spokesman at Seven Eleven Japan Co. said more than 10 of its stores remained shut as of 10 a.m. Friday local time due to rain damage.

Source: wsj.com