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Seven Die As Floods Hit Japan

June 29, 1999 GMT

TOKYO (AP) _ Heavy rains and flash floods swept through southwestern Japan on Tuesday, killing at least seven people, grounding flights and shutting down train lines and highways. More than a dozen people were missing.

In the southwestern city of Fukuoka, the national guard worked to contain a raging river. In the western city of Kobe, more than 6,000 people were urged to evacuate flood-threatened homes.

Television news reports from Fukuoka, 560 miles southwest of Tokyo, showed firefighters wading through chest-high streams of water down city streets trying to reach people stranded in homes and shops.

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Five people were killed by landslides in the state of Hiroshima, according to police spokesman Kimisaburo Yoshioka. Twenty people were still missing there, 430 miles southwest of Tokyo.

Two others died on the southern island of Kyushu, according to Shinichi Moriwaki, a police spokesman. A 12-year-old boy was killed when his family’s home was buried by a landslide in the state of Nagasaki. A 52-year-old waitress drowned when waters filled an underground shopping mall in Fukuoka, media reports said.

In all, three houses were completely destroyed and nearly 1,300 were flooded on Kyushu island.

Rainfall of up to 8.2 inches per hour was reported in the hardest hit areas of Kyushu, according to the Meteorological Agency.

It issued heavy rain warnings for wide areas of western Japan for late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

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