Japan Flooding After Record Rains Leaves 3 Dead, 23 Missing

Three people died and 23 were missing in floods after record rains burst the banks of two rivers in Japan in two days, public broadcaster NHK said.

The Shibuigawa river in Miyagi Prefecture, an area hit by the record 2011 tsunami, overflowed Friday morning, exacerbating flooding in an area already declared a state of emergency, according to NHK. This follows a breach Thursday by the Kinugawa river in the city of Joso, about 26 miles (42 kilometers) north of Tokyo.

The police and Self-Defense Forces were still rescuing people Friday afternoon. TV footage showed dozens of submerged houses in Miyagi, and emergency workers airlifting people from homes in danger of being swept away. Nearly 13,000 people had been evacuated, according to the Asahi newspaper, and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said close to 1000 homes had been flooded.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held an emergency meeting with officials and, in parliament, said the government would do its utmost to ensure people are safe.

Home builder shares rose as insurance companies’ stocks fell. Iida Group Holdings Co. soared 9 percent in Tokyo and and Sanei Architecture Planning Co. increased 4.8 percent. T&D Holdings Inc. fell by 1.6 percent.

Toyota Motor Corp. suspended four production lines in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures as the heavy rain disrupted employee access to the plants, spokeswoman Monica Saito said by phone. The company will resume output for the night shift.

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichi facility saw an overflow of “slightly tainted water” into the ocean from its nuclear power plant over about three hours on Friday morning, according to company spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi. The latest sampling of Fukushima seawater showed no impact from this morning’s overflow, Yamagishi said.

Rain may continue to pour over Japan’s northeastern coast and parts of Hokkaido as tropical storm Kilo approaches Japan.

Japan Meteorological Agency has kept emergency weather warnings in place for Miyagi prefecture. Record-breaking rain of over 600mm that accumulated in some areas between Sept. 7-10 means the Kanto region around Tokyo must stay on alert for floods and landslides, according to the Meteorological Agency.

–With assistance from Stephen Stapczynski and Yuji Nakamura in Tokyo.