The death toll from the historic rainfall in western Japan reached 110 on Monday as rescuers stepped up efforts to clear areas hit by flooding and landslides. Some plants halted by the floods started to resume operations as the affected regions began the process of recovery.
Almost 2 million people were still subject to evacuation orders on Monday, while tens of thousands of rescue workers battled mud, water and rubble to search for survivors stranded in their homes.
At one point about 5 million people were told or advised to evacuate. Some of those who decided to stay home found themselves trapped by rapidly rising water or landslides.
The heaviest rainfall seen in Japan for decades has caused destruction over large parts of the country, particularly in Hiroshima and other parts of the south-west, making it difficult for authorities to assess the damage and the number of casualties.
Nearly 80 people remain unaccounted for, according to national broadcaster NHK, and thousands still remain in evacuation centers after record downpours triggered devastation in wide parts of the region, mainly in Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures.
Authorities, who described the downpour as “historic”, have lifted the heavy rain and flood warnings which were been in place since Thursday, and weather in most affected regions is expected to improve.
TV footage from across the affected region showed rivers that had burst their banks, submerged vehicles and houses destroyed by landslides.
Toyota Motor Corp., Daihatsu Motor Co., and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. resumed normal operations at plants in after fully or partially shutting down over the past few days. Work remains halted at the factories of Mazda Motor Corp., Panasonic Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. Power and water in wide parts of Hiroshima and Okayama has yet to be restored, and many of the factories still shut cited the water supply as well as difficulties faced by employees in getting to work.
As of 3 p.m. Japan time, the death toll stood at 110, NHK said. The broadcaster also reported that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled a planned trip to Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt from Wednesday to cope with the disaster.Below is a summary of reports on company outages:
Over 12,000 buildings in prefectures including Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime are without power, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Mazda will continue to halt operations at two of its factories through July 10, company spokeswoman Yukari Hara said.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will continue to halt operations at three factories in Hiroshima on Monday due to water shortage, spokeswoman Miki Yanabe said.
IHI Corp. has stopped its No. 2 Kure factory in Hiroshima due to the water supply, as well as its staff having difficulty coming to work.
Toyota has resumed normal operations at all its factories in Fukuoka prefecture after cutting back at two of them, said Daiji Kitamura, a spokesman at Toyota’s Kyushu operations.
Lawson Inc. will keep 23 convenience stores in the affected regions closed, said company spokesman Ming Li.
Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. also shut 17 of its shops, spokesman Takumi Yamaguchi said.
Panasonic has halted production of video cameras at a plant in Okayama city, company spokeswoman Chieko Gyobu said.
Market reaction to the flooding was relatively muted. The Topix Construction Index rose 1.5 percent versus a gain of 1.2 percent in broader Topix gauge. Companies moving on the news included Raito Kogyo Co., which provides piling, waterproofing and piping engineering works and added 3.7 percent. Izumi Co., which operates shopping centers mainly in western Japan, fell 2.5 percent.
Bank of Japan’s branch managers from the affected regions have requested that financial institutions take appropriate measures for those affected by the recent floods.
The rains are the worst weather-related disaster in Japan since two typhoons struck in quick succession in August and September 2011, killing nearly 100 people. The death toll is higher than that seen in 2014, when more than 70 people died in landslides caused by torrential rain in Hiroshima.