More Heavy Rain Forecast for Japan as Death Toll Rises to 16

Floods in Japan kill 7; search for missing slowed by mud

The Fukuoka prefecture government said it was unable to contact 25 people in the city. This raised the total number of evacuees from heavily-hit areas as of noon on July 10 to 1,027 in Asakura and 313 in Toho, Fukuoka Prefecture, and 384 in Hita, Oita Prefecture, for a total of 1,724 people.

Torrential rains started to inundate rivers and residential areas late Wednesday.

While the seasonal rain front has reportedly moved north to the Korean Peninsula, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) there is still a chance of concentrated heavy rain in northern Kyushu due to the arrival of a warm, wet air mass.

The deadly disaster prompted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to decide to cut short his European tour and return to Japan. He was among the five whose bodies were discovered in the Ariake Sea on Saturday, surrounded by Kumamoto and other prefectures and situated several far from the disaster-stricken area.

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They believe the bodies may have been washed downstream along the Chikugo River, which flows through Kumamoto, Oita, Fukuoka and Saga prefectures, and into the sea.

More than 2,000 members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces are working with firefighters, police and rescue workers in Fukuoka prefecture's Asakura area, one of the hardest-hit areas.

Some schools in the affected area made a decision to cut short the first semester and move up the start of summer vacation by around 10 days as students face difficulty in commuting to school. "It's tough, it's tough", said an elderly man, who was pushing a wheelbarrow in the heavy rain, carrying mud out of an old wooden noodle restaurant. "We can't surrender to feelings of distress".

A public official in his 30s said he took a day off from work in Hiroshima Prefecture to help.

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