Kyodo / Reuters
Torrential rain showers have created dangerous conditions in southwestern Japan, giving rise to evacuation orders for more than 1.1 million people in the Kyushu region, according to state stations NHK News. Officials warn about the risk of flooding and mudslides.
About half of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's largest islands, is under warning or advice for the risk of landslides and heavy rainfall, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The flood warning covers a slightly smaller area.
"Be careful to protect your life," said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday according to the Japan Times.
Early in Japan, the authorities had issued evacuation orders for 1,123,000 people in parts of two prefectures: Kagoshima and Miyazaki. Evacuation advice was issued for nearly 870,000 people in nearby areas, according to NHK.
The evacuation orders come as Kyushu, and nearby regions have struggled to absorb persistent heavy rains that began last week. Some areas have already exceeded record falls, and with more rain in the forecast, the earth could simply give way, says Japan's weather agency.
"Rain in some parts of southern Kyushu has reached 1,000 millimeters [39 inches] since Friday," NHK reports.
The governor of the Kagoshima Prefecture asked Japan's self-defense forces on Wednesday to send a disaster team to help residents and emergency personnel cope with landslides and floods, according to Japan's Defense Ministry.
"Japanese Self-Defensive Forces has about 14,000 employees in place," said Deputy Secretary Kotaro Nogami. He added that Japan's central government coordinates police, firefighters, coastguards and other agencies to respond quickly to emergencies.
The violent rain comes from a phenomenon known as the Baiu front, which brings seasonal rains to most of Japan. In the current situation, the front has stopped and pours water into southern Japan, says Japan's weather agents.
Historically, the rainy season usually lasts from early June to late July for Kyushu and north areas.