Japan’s meteorological agency issued an emergency warning to residents of Kyushu as the southern island suffered record levels of rain early on Wednesday that threatened to cause landslides, floods and other natural disasters.
Public broadcaster NHK said one man was killed when his car was washed away in Saga prefecture, where some areas were hit with more than 100 mm (4 inches) of rainfall in an hour.
Television footage showed cars with their tyres underwater and people wading knee-deep in flooded streets after several rivers broke their banks.
About 240,000 residents of Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Saga prefectures in northern Kyushu have been ordered to evacuate, Kyodo news reported.
The weather agency said parts of northern Kyushu were experiencing torrential rains only seen once in a few decades. It assigned the highest alert level of 5.