Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has canceled a four-nation trip as the death toll from flooding and landslides caused by record rains hit 100, the government’s top spokesman said yesterday.
Abe had been expected to visit Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt starting tomorrow.
The prime minister canceled the tour to the countries “to concentrate on disaster-management measures, such as rescue and construction works,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
Abe is expected to visit some of the areas worst affected by the flash flooding and landslides as early as tomorrow, local media said.
He had been due to start the trip in Belgium, where he was to sign a massive free-trade agreement (FTA) with the EU.
EU President Donald Tusk offered to hold that meeting in Tokyo instead.
“My heartfelt condolences and words of European solidarity with the people of Japan and PM,” Tusk wrote on Twitter.
“In view of the tragic circumstances, we are ready to move our EU-Japan Summit from Brussels to Tokyo next week,” he said.
As the floods receded, emergency workers reached previously cut-off places where authorities fear they could find more bodies in the wreckage of homes devastated by rivers of mud and debris.
“I have asked my family to prepare for the worst,” said Kosuke Kiyohara, 38, as he waited for word of his sister and her two young sons.
“I can’t reach her phone,” he said, sitting across from a house that had been ripped apart and tossed on its side by a huge landslide.
Rescue workers said it was still possible that survivors could be found, but acknowledged the odds were getting longer.
“It has been three days... It’s possible that survivors will be found, but as the days pass the likelihood becomes slimmer,” a soldier at the scene said.
At the end of last week rivers engorged by more than 1m of rain burst their banks, engulfing entire villages and forcing people to rooftops to await evacuation by helicopter. Hillsides gave way under the weight of water, with deadly landslides crushing wooden houses and erasing roads.
Suga said 73,000 police, firemen and troops were taking part in the rescue effort, with 700 helicopters deployed to help.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of