At least 49 killed, 48 missing as torrential rain pounds Japan

TOKYO, July 7 (Reuters) - Forty-nine people have been killed and 48 are unaccounted for in western and central Japan as torrential rain pounds the area, public broadcaster NHK said on Saturday, with more than 1.6 million evacuated from their homes.

Japan's Meteorological Agency retained special weather warnings for three prefectures in the main island of Honshu, down from five, and urged vigilance against landslides, rising rivers and strong winds amid what it called "historic" rains.

Helicopter footage showed people on their roofs waving for help in Kurashiki, and Japanese soldiers rescuing children by boat from a flooded river in Hiroshima.

RELATED: Torrential downpours cause chaos in Japan

65 PHOTOS
Torrential downpours cause chaos in Japan
See Gallery
Torrential downpours cause chaos in Japan
Rescue workers are seen next to houses damaged by a landslide following heavy rain in Hiroshima, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 7, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Residents are rescued from a flooded area by Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers in Kurashiki, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 7, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An aerial view shows local residents seen on the roof of submerged house at a flooded area as they wait for a rescue in Kurashiki, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 7, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Residents are rescued from a flooded area by Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers in Kurashiki, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 7, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
Residents are rescued from a flooded area by Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers in Kurashiki, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 7, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
A local resident is rescued from a flooded area in Kurashiki, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 7, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
Rescue workers are seen next to houses damaged by a landslide following heavy rain in Hiroshima, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 7, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
Derailed train caused by a landslide following heavy rain is seen in Karastu, southwestern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 7, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
Rescue workers are seen next to houses damaged by a landslide following heavy rain in Kitakyushu, southwestern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 6, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
A local resident watches Togetsu Bridge and swollen Katsura River, caused by a heavy rain, in Kyoto, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 6, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
A kimono-clad woman using a smartphone takes photos of swollen Kamo River, caused by a heavy rain, from Shijo Bridge in Kyoto, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 5, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
An elderly couple looks at a flooded area after heavy rain in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 8, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
A Japan Self-Defense Force truck makes its way in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A woman stands in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Local residents clean their belongings in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers rescue people from a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A woman sweeps her face as she makes her way in a flooded area at Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Rescue workers rest at Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A van is submerged in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A gasoline stand is flooded by heavy rain at Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A man checks a car in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A Japan Self-Defense Force soldier approaches to Mabi memorial hospital for rescue work in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A car is submerged at a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers ride a boat during their rescue work at a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
School girls make their way in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A flooded area is seen after heavy rain in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 8, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
A broken road is seen after heavy rain in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 8, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
A helicopter and its crew rescue a person from a flooded area after heavy rain in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 8, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
A woman makes her way in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers rescue people from a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
People carry their belongings on canoe in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers rescue people from a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A truck which was stranded by flood is seen in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A man makes his way in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers rescue people from a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers rescue people from a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers rescue people from a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A man makes his way on a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers rescue people from a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Women make their way through a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers help people getting out of a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Men make their way in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Women make their way through a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
An elderly man in a wheelchair is rescued from a flooded area in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 8, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers carry a boat for their rescue work at a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Men make their way on a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
An overturned car remains on a street after heavy rain in Ozu, Ehime Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 8, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Women make their way in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Men make their way in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Residents walk near damaged cars in a residential area in Hiroshima on July 8, 2018. - The death toll from record rains that have devastated parts of Japan rose Sunday to at least 57, officials said, as rescue workers and troops struggled in the mud and water to save lives. (Photo by STR / JIJI PRESS / AFP) / Japan OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Self-Defense Forces personnels remove stones scattered by debris flow in Hiroshima on July 8, 2018. - The death toll from record rains that have devastated parts of Japan rose Sunday to at least 57, officials said, as rescue workers and troops struggled in the mud and water to save lives. (Photo by STR / JIJI PRESS / AFP) / Japan OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A man gets home over a flooded river in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A man and his wife carrying their belongings walk past a devastated street during floods in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks past a devastated street during floods in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A man pushes his scooter through a flooded street in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows cars trapped in the mud after floods in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
People use escavators to remove the mud after floods in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows cars trapped in the mud after floods in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks past a street in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
Two women look at a flooded street in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows a car trapped in the mud after floods in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows cars trapped in the mud after floods in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows cars trapped in the mud after floods in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A man and his wife protect their home from water with sand bags in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks in a flooded street in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018. - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a 'race against time' to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In Motoyama, a town on Shikoku island, about 600 km (373 miles) from the capital Tokyo, 583 mm (23 inches) of rain fell between Friday and Saturday morning, the agency said.

Although a weather front had settled between western and eastern Japan, there was a risk heavy rains would continue as warm air flowed towards the front, it added, with already-saturated areas facing more rain on Sunday.

Among the dead were a man who fell from a bridge into a river in western Hiroshima city, and a 77-year-old man in Takashima, 56 km (35 miles) east of the ancient capital of Kyoto, who was swept into a canal as he worked to remove debris, NHK said.

Four people in Ehime, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi prefectures were in critical condition after being injured in landslides, it added.

By Saturday morning, more than 1.6 million people had been ordered to evacuate their homes for fear of flooding and further landslides, with 3.1 million more advised to leave, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said about 48,000 police, firefighters and members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces were responding to appeals for help.

The weather also hit industry. Some automakers halted production as the rain and flooding disrupted supply chains and risked workers' safety, Kyodo news agency said.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp halted operations at one plant because it could not get parts, Kyodo said. Mazda Motor Corp stopped production lines at two plants so employees would not have to travel in hazardous conditions.

Reuters could not reach the firms for comment outside business hours. (Reporting by Thomas Wilson Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Hugh Lawson)

Read Full Story