Torrential rain forecast across eastern, western Japan

Extremely heavy rain is forecast across wide areas of eastern and western Japan through Monday. Authorities are urging people to stay alert for landslides and flooding.

The Meteorological Agency says atmospheric conditions are extremely unstable due to warm and moist air flowing into a seasonal rain front and low-pressure system, raising the risk of downpours and thunder.

In the 24-hour period through Monday morning, up to 200 millimeters of rain is forecast in the Tokai region, 150 millimeters in Kyushu, as well as the Kanto-Koshin and Hokuriku regions and 100 millimeters in the Chugoku region.

Authorities are calling on people to watch out for lightning strikes and strong gusts of wind, and to secure their safety by taking shelter in sturdy buildings if there are signs of developed cumulonimbus clouds approaching.

Weather officials say rain is expected to intensify through Sunday night in the Hokuriku region, where a massive earthquake struck on New Year's Day.

Authorities say the disaster has loosened the ground, and even a small amount of rain could trigger landslides.