Army joins search for missing people in landslide in northern Japan

A landslide destroyed about a dozen homes in northern Japan, leaving at least two people missing and troops on their way to aid in the rescue.

TOKYO — Officials said a landslide destroyed about a dozen homes in northern Japan on Saturday, leaving at least two people missing, and troops were on their way to assist in rescue efforts.

Two people, a man and a woman, were rescued from houses buried in dust after falling onto a nearby mountain in Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture, northwestern Japan. However, many residents feared still being trapped under the rubble.

According to police, the rescue operation involving 80 firefighters and police began after a call for help shortly after midnight. The prefecture has also asked the Defense Ministry to assist in the rescue, said Yamagata official Susumu Saito.

“We have no word of their arrival yet, but an official request has been made,” he said.

Some nearby residents evacuated to a public facility as a precaution. Saito said at least two people have yet to be found.

The two people rescued suffered minor injuries, police said in a statement.

Covered by mountains, Japan is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. The news comes as families prepare to gather to celebrate the New Year, Japan’s most important festival.


Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter


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