Rescue efforts begin after typhoon causes flooding in Japan

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Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas were in full force Sunday, after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.

Typhoon Hagibis made landfall south of Tokyo Saturday and moved northward.

The typhoon left four people dead, 17 missing and more than 100 people injured, according to public broadcaster NHK. The numbers were growing, underlining the damage from Hagibis, which means “speed” in the Philippine language of Tagalog.

News footage showed a rescue helicopter hovering in a flooded area in Nagano Prefecture, after an embankment of the Chikuma River broke, plucking people from the second floor of a home submerged in muddy waters.

Several other rivers had also overflowed, including Tama River near Tokyo, according to NHK.

Authorities warned that the risk of mudslides remained.

Some train service in the Tokyo area, much of which had halted, resumed from early morning, although others were undergoing safety checks and were expected to start later in the day.

The World Rugby Cup match between Namibia and Canada, scheduled for Sunday in Kamaishi, northern Japan, was canceled as a precautionary measure for safety reasons.

The matches for Saturday had been canceled. Stores and amusement parks had been closed.

The usually crowded train stations and streets of Tokyo were abandoned as people were advised to stay indoors. But life was quickly returning to normal under clear sunny skies.

About 17,000 police and military troops had been standing ready for rescue operations, under government orders.

Evacuation centers had been set up in coastal towns, and tens of thousands of people had evacuated, praying their homes were still there after the storm passed.

The typhoon disrupted a three-day weekend in Japan that includes Sports Day on Monday. Qualifying for a Formula One auto race in Suzuka was pushed from Saturday to Sunday.

The authorities had repeatedly warned Hagibis was on par with a typhoon that hit the Tokyo region in 1958. But the safety benefits that Japan’s modernization had brought were apparent. The typhoon six decades ago had left more than 1,200 people dead and half a million houses flooded.

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