The search resumed Monday for 19 people still missing after last week's typhoon-sparked landslides on Izu Oshima island, as meteorologists warned of another "very strong" storm.
Following a weekend hiatus because of rough weather, emergency crews were back combing through the tonnes of mud that engulfed houses overnight last Tuesday on Oshima, an island 120 kilometers south of Tokyo.
The weekend's heavy rain brought more misery to the island after the landslides, which killed at least 27 people, with 2,300 residents advised to leave their homes for fear of further calamity.
With the advisory lifted as of 8 a.m. Monday, some 1,200 police officers, rescue workers and soldiers were back at their grim task, an official said.
"As the next typhoon is coming and rain is expected to start falling again, we would like to do as much searching as possible beforehand, and return the missing to their families," Oshima Mayor Masafumi Kawashima said.
"The town has advised residents to return home for now and calmly prepare for the next evacuation."
Typhoon Francisco, which forecasters say is "very strong", was approaching Japan, moving north-northwest at the speed of 10 kilometers per hour in an area east of the Philippines, the Japan Meteorological Agency said Monday morning.
Francisco is expected to reach Japan's southern island chain of Okinawa by Thursday morning, it said.© (C) 2013 AFP