See More on Facebook

Curiosity, Politics

Death toll in western Japan rain deluge tops 120

Tens of thousands displaced; heatstroke advisories out as mercury soars to 35 degrees Celcius.


Written by

Updated: July 10, 2018

The death toll from days of torrential rain and landslides in western Japan topped 120 yesterday, with scores still missing, in what has been recognised by the government as a “serious disaster”.

At least 123 people were confirmed dead, two were in cardiac arrest and a further 61 were unaccounted for, according to a tally by public broadcaster NHK at 10pm local time. Tens of thousands remained displaced.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called off his eight-day trip starting tomorrow to Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in order to oversee the recovery response for Japan’s worst flood disaster since 1983.

Dozens are said to be stranded inside their homes, with access roads having been cut off by flooding, local media reported yesterday, and shell-shocked residents are bracing themselves for further bad news.

Though the skies have cleared, the Meteorological Agency has warned the threat of mudslides remains high. Torrential rain alerts have been replaced by heatstroke advisories, with temperatures soaring to 35 deg C in several areas.

Over 74,000 personnel, including police officers, firefighters and Self-Defence Force soldiers, have been tapped for a massive search-and-rescue operation, with news channels showing dramatic footage of residents being airlifted to safety from their rooftops.

Emergency personnel have been tasked with distributing food and water, and are setting up temporary toilets and installing air-conditioners at evacuation centres in the worst-hit areas.

These include Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime prefectures, where 44, 36 and 25 people have died, respectively. Okayama prefecture’s Kurashiki city alone accounted for 29 deaths, the majority of them from Mabi district, where a third of the area has been submerged and 4,600 homes hit.

The government has termed the heavy rains that battered central and western Japan from last Thursday through Sunday as “historic”. The deluge set records by up to three times the average monthly rainfall for July in several areas, with at least 93 locations reporting record rainfall.

At one point, evacuation orders or advisories were issued for up to 5.9 million people in 19 prefectures, according to a tally by Kyodo News.

About 10,000 people in 12 prefectures remain in evacuation centres, public broadcaster NHK said last night.

Mr Abe said the government will provide financial recovery aid to the affected areas, as he convened an emergency task force meeting for the second day in a row.

The rains have damaged key infrastructure such as highways and railways in the affected regions. As of noon yesterday, electricity to about 11,300 households remained cut off, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Meanwhile, the rains also shuttered factories, paralysed logistics supply chains and closed businesses including 24-hour convenience stores. Among those affected were automobile firms Daihatsu, Mazda and Toyota, as well as materials engineering companies Teijin and Oji Materia.

Asahi Shuzo, the company that produces the popular “Dassai” brand of sake that also ships to Singapore, has said production and export will be hit for several months.

The brewery is flooded, damaging raw rice stored in its warehouse, and power has not been wholly restored, president Kazuhiro Sakurai told NHK.

“It is in a state where sake production is impossible,” he said. “But while we have suffered major damage, all our employees will work as quickly as possible so that we can… resume shipments soon.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Curiosity, Politics

Xi: Step up fight against corruption

The president calls for more measures to be taken against corruption. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called on Friday for all-around efforts to fight corruption and improve the nation’s oversight system to secure even greater strategic outcomes in full and strict governance over the Party. Xi, China’s president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark at the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing. The sweeping victory that has been secured in the anti-graft campaign must be consolidated by strengthening deterrence so that officials “don’t dare to, are unable to and have no desire to” commit acts of corruption, Xi said. To this end, anti-corruption efforts in financial fields should be stepped up, particularly in key projects, areas and posi


By China Daily
January 14, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Fugitive Jho Low says no connection between 1Mdb and China

Jho Low rubbishes Wall Street Journal report about China’s alleged role in 1MDB probe. Fugitive businessman Jho Low has dismissed a report by the Wall Street Journal linking China to Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB as “a continuation of a trial by media” led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The Journal said in a report on Monday (Jan 7) that senior Chinese leaders offered in 2016 to help bail out 1Malaysia Development Berhad or 1MDB, which is at the centre of a swelling, multi-billion-dollar graft scandal. The report cited minutes from a series of previously undisclosed meetings. Chinese officials told visiting Malaysians that China would use its influence to try to get the United States and other countries to drop their probes of allegations


By The Straits Times
January 10, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Asia’s largest LGBTQ exhibition to open in Bangkok later this year

The exhibition will run from March through next year. “Spectrosynthesis II- Exposure of Tolerance: LGBTQ in Southeast Asia”, the largest-ever survey of regional contemporary art, will explore gender issues and feature more than 200 works by 50 artists. It will open at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) on November 23 and run until March 1 next year. The exhibition received huge critical acclaim when it was first staged in Taiwan 2017, after which its Hong Kong-based organiser, the Sunpride Foundation, chose Bangkok as its second stop. “Bangkok is my second home and Thailand is the most friendly LGBT country in Asia and the more liberal nation,” said Patrick Sun, founder of Sunpride Foundation. “Taiwan is the one of th


By The Nation (Thailand)
January 10, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Malaysian rulers to pick new king by the month’s end

Previous king stepped down in unprecedented move on Sunday. Malaysia’s Conference of Rulers will meet in about two weeks’ time to elect the country’s new constitutional monarch and his deputy after the King, Sultan Muhammad V, stepped down on Sunday in an unprecedented move. The 16th King, or Supreme Ruler, and his deputy will be sworn in at the end of the month, Keeper of the Royal Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said in a press statement. Yesterday morning, six of Malaysia’s nine ruling monarchs held a meeting at the national palace, Istana Negara, following Sultan Muhammad’s decision to step down as the Malaysian King. “The rulers att


By The Straits Times
January 8, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Ex-ambassador urges former colleague to defect to South Korea

A feature story from Korean Herald outlining the intricacies of a possible defection by Pyongyang’s ambassador in Italy. A former senior North Korean diplomat who defected to the South in 2016 on Saturday urged a former colleague who has gone into hiding before ending his term in Italy to come to Seoul, as opposed to the US where he is reportedly seeking asylum. Thae Yong-ho, who was the deputy ambassador in London and the most recent senior diplomat to defect, wrote an open letter to Jo Song-gil, 44, until recently North Korea’s acting ambassador to Italy, who fled the Rome embassy with his wife in early November without notice. Jo became


By The Korea Herald
January 7, 2019

Curiosity, Politics

Taiwan’s ruling party DPP elects moderate as new chairman

The by-election comes after a disastrous local election cycle where the pro-independence party lost heavily. Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elected a new chairman on Sunday (Jan 6), choosing a moderate to fill up the post vacated by President Tsai Ing-wen after the party’s disappointing performance in recent polls. Mr Cho Jung-tai, a consensus candidate backed by major party figures, took 72.6 per cent or 24,699 of the ballots cast by party members, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA). The former Cabinet secretary-general comfortably defeated Mr You Ying-lung, an openly pro-independence rival who supported a re


By The Straits Times
January 7, 2019