TOKYO (AFP, YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Three people were found dead near rain-swollen rivers in Japan on Friday (July 6), officials said, as record downpours prompted the authorities to order some 3.8 million people to evacuate their homes, with some areas hit by more than a metre of rainfall.
The body of a woman was found by a river in central Japan's Gifu while a 59-year-old man was confirmed dead after being found by a river in western Hiroshima prefecture, local police said. At least 10 people were believed buried alive by landslides in Hiroshima's Higashihiroshima city, Kyodo News reported .
A 52-year-old woman in the Kyoto region who went missing on Thursday night was found dead by a river in neighbouring Osaka prefecture, according to police.
Police said they were investigating how the three died, AFP reported.
On Thursday, a construction worker was killed when he was swept away by flood waters in the Hyogo region, as a severe rainfront drenches much of the country.
Several people have been reported missing, with landslides reported in some areas and flash floods in others.
Some 3.8 million people have been urged to evacuate, according to Mainichi Shimbun.
As of Friday, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) upgraded its warning to "special", the highest level, in Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Okayama, Hiroshima, Tottori, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures.
The special warning is issued when the amount of rain is expected to be the highest in decades.
"Japan is seeing record heavy rainfall across a broad area," agency official Ryuta Kurora told reporters.
"The torrential rain will continue until the day after tomorrow," he said.
Yanase in Umaji village, Kochi prefecture, saw 1,190 millimetres of rain in 72 hours, which is double the total amount that usually falls in the month of July, according to the JMA website.
The downpours temporarily halted bullet train services in western Japan, which resumed on Friday.