Okinawa 1988-1991

Okinawa 1988-1991

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Mudslides injure two; hundreds evacuated

A house teeters Friday on the edge of a hill that has been eroded by recent heavy rain in Nakagusuku, Okinawa Prefecture.
Two people were injured in a mudslide and hundreds of others were evacuated as heavy rain moved up the archipelago, officials said Friday.

In Tochigi Prefecture, two people were slightly hurt when a tour bus carrying 42 passengers hit debris caused by a mudslide that had been triggered by the deluge, local police spokesman Toshihiko Kishimoto said.

On Okinawa, about 400 people were evacuated amid continuing danger of mudslides from the heavy rain that passed through earlier in week, prefectural official Mitsunori Sakihara said.

Among them were 40 residents of a three-story hillside condominium complex in Naha who had to leave Monday after the building began tilting toward a large hole that had opened up in the ground nearby.

Officials said Friday the building was leaning over 4 mm more than the previous day and the hole had deepened by 7 mm.

The prefecture began debating whether to offer temporary housing to the evacuees. Officials said Okinawa will ask people what they need and decide what to do by the end of next week.

The heavy rain has killed one person so far. An 81-year-old man drowned Thursday when he fell into a swollen river in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The Meteorological Agency predicted up to 200 mm of rainfall in northern Japan by Saturday morning.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Marine credited with saving Okinawa man

A 28-year-old Marine is being credited with saving the life of an Okinawa man involved in a fiery traffic accident on the Okinawa Expressway.

Lance Cpl. Brent Spooner, a motor vehicle operator with the 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, said he saw a car lose control in the southbound lane, between exits 3 and 4, and collide with a concrete bus stop about 9 p.m. on May 29.

According to a Marine Corps news release, he immediately pulled over to help and was one of the first people at the scene of the accident. The crashed car erupted into flames on impact and Spooner raced to extract the driver, Takashi Shinjo, 46, an NHK broadcasting station employee.

Spooner was assisted by Air Force Capt. Ronald J. Chastain and Ishikawa Police Capt. Hidenori Akamine, the release said.

Shinjo was hospitalized for injuries to his neck and ribs.