The giant mudslide in Atami, Shizuoka prefecture, which occurred around 10:30 a.m. local time, came after parts of the region was hit by torrential rain.
Police and firefighters have been searching for the missing and prefectural officials have requested help from Japan’s Self-Defense Force.
As of 2 p.m. local time, about 2,830 households in the city were out of power, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company.
Heita Kawakatsu, the governor of Shizuoka prefecture, expressed his “deepest sympathies” to those affected by the landslide and to “those who have been forced to evacuate,” he told a Saturday press conference.
Kawakatsu warned that more rain is expected and said residents should watch out for further landslides. “There are many places where the ground is loose, so please evacuate from dangerous places, listen to information from the city and town, and make sure you and your family are safe,” he said.
So far, evacuation orders have been issued for people in areas surrounding Tokyo, as well as in Shizuoka, and Aichi prefectures, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.
The authorities have issued landslide warnings for parts of Shizuoka, Kanagawa, Chiba and Yamanashi prefectures, NHK reported.
The rain front is expected to move toward the Sea of Japan coast over the weekend, with areas along the coast forecast to see torrential rain on Monday and Tuesday, according to Japan’s Meteorological Agency, which also warned of landslides and flooding in low-lying areas.
This is a developing story.