Japanese rescue crews on Friday pulled three more bodies from mud and rubble in a western region hit by a series of landslides and floods early this week, bringing the death toll to 15.
Two female bodies were found in hard-hit Hofu city in Yamaguchi prefecture, 750 kilometres (470 miles) west of Tokyo, and the remains of another female were found on a river bank in nearby Mine city, police said.
The disaster sparked by torrential rains killed 14 people in Yamaguchi -- including six who died when a large mudslide hit a Hofu nursing home on Tuesday -- while one man drowned in a flooded river in Tottori prefecture.
Three people still remained missing in Yamaguchi on Friday, police said.
In Hofu city on Friday, a total of 635 search-and-rescue personnel and volunteers kept searching for the missing.
Meteorologists meanwhile warned that more heavy rains would hit the region later Friday and Saturday.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said that “intense rainfalls are expected in the region. Be warned of mudslides and rising or flooded rivers.”
Hofu officials drove around the city with vehicles rigged with loudspeakers to warn residents about the worsening weather.
“It’s difficult to predict what exactly will happen when it comes to nature,” a Hofu city official told AFP. “But we are doing what we can to warn people through various channels of communication.”