Heavy rain hits north Japan, 200,000 urged to evacuate
周四，日本北部遭遇大雨，桥梁倒塌，河流决堤，当局警告洪水危险，敦促 20 万居民撤离。
Bridges collapsed and rivers burst their banks as heavy rain lashed northern Japan on Thursday, with 200,000 residents urged to evacuate as authorities warned of dangerous flooding.
Heavy downpours hit the northeastern and central regions from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, with local authorities in Yamagata saying extensive flooding had occurred due to the Mogami River bursting its banks.
Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said around 30,000 people in Yamagata were urged to evacuate their homes by Wednesday night.
Houses were flooded, cars submerged, roads inundated and water supplies were cut off in some of the affected towns and cities, Yamagata and Niigata-based authorities said, as reported by local media.
TV footage showed a muddy mass of broken trees swept into a mountainous residential area by the downpours, which broke records in some areas.
Two people have been reported missing, top government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.
Authorities have warned of an increased risk of landslides and floods.
Public broadcaster NHK said non-compulsory evacuation advisories were issued to 200,000 residents in five regions: Niigata, Yamagata, Fukushima, Ishikawa and Fukui.
Other TV footage showed homes flooded by an overflowing river and another muddy waterway reaching the height of a bridge.
East Japan Railway Company said it will suspend its Shinkansen bullet train service throughout Thursday between Fukushima and Yamagata’s Shinjo due to the torrential rain.
Scientists say 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.