Torrential rains sparked scores of floods and landslides in western Japan on Tuesday, leaving at least five people dead and five more missing, officials and media reports said.
A nursing home for the elderly was crushed by a large landslide in Hofu city, Yamaguchi prefecture, some 750 kilometres west of Tokyo, prompting the military to send in a rescue unit, the municipal office said.
Three people died at the nursing home while two others were killed either in a landslide or drowned in a swollen river, Jiji Press said.
About 80 people were waiting for hours to be rescued at the nursing home, many of them on its roof.
The city office could not immediately confirm the number of dead and missing when contacted by AFP.
"The mountain behind the nursing home collapsed at about 1:30 pm and water gushed down in a mixture of red soil, mud and small rocks," Jyunko Sasaki, a housewife who lives near the facility, told Fuji television network.
The city said there were 29 landslides and that rivers and canals flooded at 46 points. At least three cars were buried in mud and rocks, the city said.
A flash flood swept a team of firefighters off their feet, although only one was injured, suffering a broken finger, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.