(File photo: VCG)
Two people were killed and another person was missing in landslides on Friday, local officials and news reports said, as Japan was hit by heavy rains just two weeks after a deadly typhoon barrelled through the country.
A woman in her 60s was sent to hospital and another woman in her 40s was unaccounted for after landslides struck two houses in Chiba, southeast of Tokyo, said a local disaster management official.
"She was later confirmed dead in hospital," the official told AFP.
A separate landslide destroyed another house in Chiba, killing a man, public broadcaster NHK said, adding he appeared to be a person who had earlier been reported missing.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued warnings of heavy rains, landslides and floods in a swathe of areas including eastern and central Japan.
"As risks of disasters have already increased, please be extremely vigilant about landslides, rise in river water volumes and floods as rains will continue," the JMA warned on its Twitter account.
Non-mandatory evacuation orders were issued to more than 390,000 residents in the Fukushima region and 5,000 people in Chiba, NHK reported.
Local authorities in Minamisoma, eastern Fukushima, announced they planned to discharge water from a dam that had reached maximum capacity Friday night, raising fears of flooding in populated downstream areas.
Footage showed cars splashing through roads partly inundated with water, as several swollen rivers flooded in eastern Japan.
Some 4,700 houses in the region were without power by Friday evening, while some train services were suspended, officials said.
Japan was hit by Typhoon Hagibis about two weeks ago, with the death toll from the violent storm now standing at more than 80.
Residents still picking up the pieces after that storm expressed frustrations over reconstruction delays and their fear of another disaster.
"I'm a bit worried that if an evacuation order is issued, we will have to leave here," a woman in Nagano in central Japan who was cleaning up mud told NHK.
Many of the river banks and levees that were breached during Hagibis have not yet been repaired.