Tokyo (AP) — A landslide that destroyed dozens of homes and killed at least seven people at a seaside resort in Japan began in an area with a history of land changes, where a huge mound of soil was destroyed and damaged. Expanded, officials said Wednesday.
However, they say that further investigation and analysis is needed to determine if the main cause of the Atami disaster is a mountain of soil. In Atami, hundreds of rescue workers and dogs carefully searched for missing persons in a destroyed and mud-filled house on Wednesday. ..
According to officials from Shizuoka Prefecture and Atami City, 27 people have not yet been contacted and may have been hit by a landslide on Saturday. Many of Atami’s homes are villas and vacation rentals, so it was difficult to determine the number.
The mud exposed after the slides dig into the streets and homes is clearly black, indicating a large amount of abandoned soil from the area where the land was modified.
Takashi Namba, Deputy Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture, said that the construction of the burial mound was inadequate and occupied about half the volume of the front and rear landslides as a result of the first rough evaluation.
“At least, the seriousness of the disaster was amplified by the burial mounds of more than 50,000 tons sitting there,” said Namba, a former Land Ministry bureaucrat and civil engineer.
He said there were other land modifications and developments in the area, including solar power complex, deforestation, land development for residential complex, and apparently illegal dumping of industrial waste. Geological details, he said, suggest that the solar complex and housing development were not the cause of the landslide, although further investigation is needed.
The mound has existed since before 2010 and contains plastic and other waste, suggesting that it is a waste disposal site rather than a development site, Namba said. He also believes that construction is inadequate due to insufficient drainage in areas with abundant groundwater.
Authorities are also checking for ownership changes related to mounds and other projects.
Other land development assessments across the country are planned, according to Ministry of Land officials.
The landslide occurred after a heavy rainy day in Atami, which was built on a steep hillside like many seaside towns in Japan. The town has a registered population of 36,800 and is located approximately 100 km (60 miles) southwest of Tokyo.
The disaster is even more challenging, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is preparing for the Tokyo Olympics in about two weeks. Japan is still suffering from a coronavirus pandemic.
Early July, after the rainy season in Japan, is often a period of deadly floods and landslides, and many experts say that climate change is exacerbating the rain.