Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has instructed members of his Cabinet to do everything they can to assist the search and rescue work as torrential rains continue to trigger floods and mudslides in many areas.
Abe was speaking at a meeting of an emergency disaster countermeasure task force the government set up on Sunday.
He said it's a race against time as many people are still missing, isolated or waiting to be rescued. He said the 54,000 people mobilized in the search and rescue operations must be flexible in responding to the changing situations.
The Prime Minister said the central government will work with local municipalities to provide supplies and quickly rebuild lifeline infrastructure.
This is the first time since the government has set up an emergency task force since powerful earthquakes shook Kumamoto in 2016.