Alwaght- At least 50 people are missing as heavy rains that have killed 38 people in western and central Japan, public broadcaster NHK reported on Saturday.
More than 1.6 million people evacuated from their homes and some 5,000 members of the Self-Defense Forces, police and firefighting services were taking part in searching for people trapped, wounded or dead. A further 3.1 million were also advised to leave amid fears of flooding and further landslides, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.
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.
The agency warned of potential heavy rain of up to 80 mm per hour in some areas. In the 24-hour period through 6 a.m. on Sunday, 300 mm of rain is forecast in the Shikoku and northern Kyushu regions, 250 mm in the southern Kyushu and Tokai regions, and 200 mm in the Chugoku, Kinki and Hokuriku regions.
In Motoyama, a town in Shikoku island, 583 millimeters (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.