[TOKYO] One person died and 22 were missing after torrential rain triggered severe floods across swathes of land north of Tokyo, state broadcaster NHK said.
The Shibuigawa river in Miyagi Prefecture, an area hit by the record 2011 tsunami, burst its banks Friday morning, exacerbating flooding in an area already declared a state of emergency, according to NHK. This follows a breach Thursday by the Kinugawa river in the city of Joso, about 26 miles (42 kilometers) north of Tokyo.
TV footage showed dozens of submerged houses in Miyagi, and rescue workers airlifting people from homes in danger of being swept away. More than 700 homes were flooded in Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
Toyota Motor Corp halted production at three factories in northeastern Japan due to the heavy rains, according to the Nikkei newspaper. None of the plants were damaged, the paper said.
Shares in home builders rose, while stocks of insurance companies fell. Iida Group Holdings Co was up 8 per cent as of 10:07 am in Tokyo, and Sanei Architecture Planning Co increased 6.2 per cent. T&D Holdings Inc. fell 2.4 per cent.
The rains caused contaminated water at Tokyo Electric Power Co's wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichi facility to leak into the Pacific Ocean, according to company spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi.
"Tepco determined that the slightly tainted water leaked from the Fukushima facility had no impact on the nearby ocean's radiation level," Mr Yamagishi said by phone Friday.
Heavy rain subsided in the Kanto region near Tokyo on Friday, while parts of Hokkaido may see rain as tropical storm Kilo approaches northern Japan. With more than 500mm of rain accumulated in some areas over a 12-hour period Thursday, Kanto must stay on alert for floods and landslides, Japan Meteorological Agency's Eiju Takahashi said.