Millions evacuated in Japan after heavy rains
At least 64 people have died and 50s are missing after heavy rain in the central and western parts of Japan, reports the Japanese public service network NHK.
More than 2 million inhabitants have been evacuated and 2 million are encouraged to leave their homes.
Japan's meteorological institute has issued weather alerts across several parts of the country and calls for caution. Residents are being warned of landslides, rising water levels in rivers and strong winds in what is called a "historic storm".
The weather forecast is that the storm will last for the weekend.
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.
More recently, up to 4 million people have either evacuated, or been advised to evacuate due to the bad weather conditions.
Close to 50 000 first reponders dispatched
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.