Western Japan is now the target of full-scale search and rescue operations that started Monday morning, as the region was hit with a record amount of rain on Sunday. There are a lot of people, estimated to be in the hundreds, in Yamaguchi and Shimane Prefectures stranded by the flooding due to the tremendous amount of rain. The Japan Meteorological Agency warned the region specifically that it will experience “unprecedentedly heavy rains”, and residents were advised to be vigilant regarding incoming floods and mudslides.
In Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture, 79-year-old Yoshino Tashima was found under a collapsed house and was confirmed dead. At least 10 people in the area were injured in one way or another. The downpour also caused locations to be isolated due to mudslides, and around 480 people were being rescued by helicopter from different areas in the prefecture. Some 200 primary school students who were attending a summer camp in the prefecture were trapped due at a prefectural youth nature center near Tokusagamine mountain. Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force members rescued them by helicopter early Monday.
In Tsuwano, Shimane Prefecture, around 200 residents from three districts were still stranded as of noon, according to reports from the area. Some residents in the town’s Nayoshi district were also transported by helicopter because of the flooding. The record-breaking rains also affected the train region’s train service. JR Yamaguchi Line was rendered partially out of service as a bridge and other facilities had been affected by floodwaters. A farmer in the Nayoshi district of Tsuwano said, “The river swelled immediately, and an asphalt surface of a prefectural road collapsed.”
The torrential rains have brought one month’s worth of rain to these areas in just one day, according to reports. The Japan Meteorological Agency has urged the public to remain vigilant, because even if the rain has stopped for now, heavy rain is again expected in the area on Monday night due to a weather system brought by westerly winds. The Japanese central government is already assessing the damage in the area. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference Monday that an investigation team headed by Yasutoshi Nishimura, senior vice minister in the Cabinet Office, would be sent to Yamaguchi and Shimane prefectures to assess the rain damage.