Typhoon Hagibis weakened to a tropical depression as it continued to move across central Japan on Sunday, leaving at least 31 people dead and 186 others injured in its wake, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.
The storm made landfall just before 7 p.m. Saturday local time on the Izu Peninsula, southwest of Tokyo. According to the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office, “record-setting heavy rains and windstorms have caused flooding and landslides.”
More than 230,000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm, with emergency orders issued for many cities around the greater Tokyo area. Around 27,000 Self-Defense Forces personnel are taking on rescue operations, the Prime Minister’s office said.
Along with the 31 deaths, NHK said at least 186 people had been injured and 14 people remain missing.
In photos: Typhoon Hagibis hits Japan
Abe offered his “condolences for the people killed in the disaster and my sincere sympathy for the people affected by this disaster.”
“Now not only police, fire department and coast guard, but also 27,000 staff of the self-defense force are on rescue, search for missing and supporting evacuation,” Abe said Sunday. “We are to enhance the scale of operation depending on necessity.”
Typhoon Hagibis came as the country hosts the Rugby World Cup. Two matches – England-France and New Zealand-Italy – had to be preemptively canceled. Sunday’s Pool B match between Namibia and Canada in Kamaishi was also canceled hours before it was due to take place.
A pivotal Pool A match between Japan and Scotland did go ahead with the host nation going on to secure a place in the quarterfinals. Formula One events scheduled for Sunday also went ahead as planned.
While authorities made it clear that the decision to cancel games was necessary to ensure the safety of players and fans, many were critical of the tournament’s inability to reschedule games and apparent unpreparedness for the extreme weather – despite the World Cup being held during typhoon season.
In canceled games, two points are awarded to each team in line with tournament rules. This impact who qualifies for the next round of the competition.