Torrential rain continues to pound Japan's southwest, mudslide warnings issued

TOKYO (XINHUA) - Torrential rain continued to lash wide swathes of the Kyushu region in Japan's southwest on Monday (May 20), with the weather agency issuing mudslide warning for some of the hardest hit areas.

In addition to the possible mudslides, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has also issued warnings that the downpours might bring tornadoes and lightning strikes across the region through Tuesday, owing to humid air from the south causing unstable atmospheric conditions.

As the warm pressure system moves northward, the JMA said that torrential rain could hit regions in both eastern and western Japan, with up to 250mm of rain expected in the 24-hour period through Tuesday.

In Miyazaki Prefecture, where mudslide warning have been issued, rainfall logged more than 400mm from Friday to Monday morning, the weather agency said.

Over the weekend, 314 hikers were left stranded on a mountain on Yakushima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, following heavy rain causing a landslide on one of the mountain's hiking trails.

The stranded hikers were rescued on Sunday after spending the night on the mountain, with the rescue operation involving police, firefighters and Ground Self-Defence Force members.

Local officials said that all the hikers have been accounted for and none of them were injured or left in a serious condition.