14:56 GMT11 May 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to cancel his state visits to Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, slated for this and next week, amid the deadly flooding and landslides caused by heavy rainfall in Japan, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday.

    "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to cancel his visits to Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, scheduled for July 11-18, in order to fully engage in disaster response, such as life rescue missions and restoration assistance, given that heavy damage continues to emerge following this record heavy rainfall," Suga told a briefing.

    Meanwhile, the EU-Japan summit, initially scheduled to take place in Brussels on Wednesday, has been canceled in the light of the deadly floods and landslides, and the European Union expressed readiness to move talks to Tokyo next week, according to the EU Council President Donald Tusk.

    Earlier in the day, Japanese media reported that the death toll in the disaster had reached 112, while 78 people remained missing. The Japanese prime minister was expected to attend the signing ceremony of the economic partnership agreement (EPA) between the European Union and Japan in Belgium, as well as to hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in France.

    READ MORE: Number of Japan's Rainfalls Victims Reaches 87 — Reports

    On Friday, the central and south-western parts of Japan were hit by torrential rains. By Sunday morning over 1,050 millimeters (41 inches) of rainfall fell in Gifu Prefecture, 745 millimeters in Ehime Prefecture, 465 millimeters in Kyoto Prefecture and 442 millimeters in Hiroshima Prefecture. These figures exceed the average monthly rainfall by two or three times.

    Some 5.9 million Japanese have received instructions or recommendations on evacuation in connection with the heavy rains, with over 30,000 people staying in evacuation centers. The Japanese Meteorological Agency has warned about a threat of new flooding and landslides.

    Earlier in the day, Abe held a meeting with the governor of Ehime Prefecture, which has the second-highest death toll caused by the flooding, and pledged to consider a set of possible financial measures to assist the disaster-hit region.


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