Japan mudslide: At least 19 people missing after disaster in town of Atami west of Tokyo

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At least 19 people are missing after a powerful mudslide swept away rows of houses in the town of Atami, west of Tokyo, Japanese authorities said.

Disaster management officials in Shizuoka prefecture, central Japan, say the mudslide occurred on Saturday morning in the town, known for its hot springs.

Prefectural disaster management official Takamichi Sugiyama said rescue workers are searching for at least 19 people, adding the mudslide occurred in an area called Izusan.

Mr Sugiyama said some people in the area are believed to have evacuated but no further details were immediately known.

Television footage showed a wave of black mud slide down a mountainside, knocking down and crushing houses in its way as helpless neighbours watched in horror, some recording on their phones.

Heavy rain has been lashing across Japan since earlier this week, causing rivers to swell in central and the Tokyo region, and increasing the risk of landslides.

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