Tokyo: A powerful landslide carrying a flood of black water and detritus pummeled into rows of houses in a town west of Tokyo following heavy pours on Saturday, leaving at least 19 individuals mislaid, officials said.
Dozens of homes may have been entombed in Atami, a town known for hot springs, said Shizuoka embassy spokesman Takamichi Sugiyama.
Public news NHK gave the number of mislaid people at 20, but Sugiyama said the administration confirmed at least 19, although he said the number may increase.
Torrential rains have banged parts of Japan starting earlier this week. Experts said mud had been loosened, increasing landslide risks in a country filled with valleys and mountains.
Sugiyama stated it had been raining hard in the region all morning. Self-defense companies will join firefighters and police in the rescue action, he added. Evacuation warnings were released for a widespread area.
The landslides emerged to slam multiple times, about as fast as a car. Footage showed an intensified, black mudslide slide down a mountainside, damaging and crushing houses and sweeping away cars in its way. Helpless neighbours looked in horror, some recording on their phones.
NHK TV video displayed a part of a bridge that had collapsed.
Atami is an attractive seaside resort area in Shizuoka jurisdiction , about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Tokyo.
The region that was struck by the landslide, Izusan, includes hot springs, residential areas, shopping streets and a famous sanctuary.