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Landslides feared in quake-hit areas of western Japan as heavy rain forecast

The roofs of houses are seen covered with blue tarps to prevent rain water from leaking into the structures in quake-hit Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, on June 19, 2018. (Mainichi)

OSAKA -- The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has warned of possible landslides in quake-hit areas in western Japan as heavy rain was forecast for the region on June 20.

Noting that the ground may have loosened because of the estimated magnitude-6.1 quake that struck on June 18, a JMA official said, "Even a small amount of rain could trigger mudslides."

According to the agency, the seasonal rain front will likely move north above Kyushu while growing, and become stationary above the Kinki region around Osaka on the morning of June 20. Over a 24-hour period up to 6 a.m. on June 20, the front is expected to bring up to 40 millimeters of rain to the northern Kinki region, 80 millimeters to central Kinki and 100 millimeters to southern Kinki. Over the subsequent 24-hour period, the rain amount is estimated to be 50 millimeters, 100 to 150 millimeters, and 100 to 200 millimeters to these areas, respectively.

In the meantime, experts from the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry entered the disaster areas to grasp the details of damage caused to the areas, such as landslides and road collapses.

Cracks were found on a section of road measuring about 100 meters on the dike along the Amano River in the Hoshidakita district of Katano, Osaka Prefecture. Since water could seep out through the cracks if the amount of water in the river swells due to heavy rain, the experts are inspecting the cracks to precisely grasp their size and structure.

The experts will also inspect the Osaka Prefecture cities of Takatsuki and Suita where road collapses occurred due to the ruptures of tap water pipes.

(Japanese original by Shuichi Abe, Osaka Science & Environment News Department, and Kenichiro Fuji, Osaka City News Department)

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