Tokyo: A search and rescue operation was underway on Sunday to locate 20 people who went missing in a large mudslide triggered by torrential rain in Japan’s Shizuoka prefecture.
The disaster has left two others dead and affected some 130 houses, according to local authorities.
About 700 police and Self-Defense Forces personnel along with firefighters are conducting the the search in Atami city, reports Xinhua news agency.
The disaster completely destroyed some houses when mud cascaded from a mountain top on July 3, travelling a distance of about 2 km.
Work to remove mud and debris using heavy machinery started early on Sunday morning amid intermittent rain and the risk of a secondary disaster.
At a nearby port where two women with no signs of life were found and later confirmed dead , the coast guard are searching for missing persons.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga set up a task force and ordered relevant Cabinet ministers to work closely with the local government to protect the people while being on alert over another disaster.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said heavy rain is expected and warned the public to be vigilant against further mudslides, flooding and swollen rivers.