At least three missing and thousands evacuated as torrential rains hit Japan |  Video

At least three people were reported missing on Thursday after torrential rains hit northern Japan, flooding roads and causing rivers to overflow in some regions. The authorities ordered the evacuation of thousands of people to avoid further catastrophes.

NHK reported that more than 500mm of rain fell in Niigata prefecture, prompting authorities to issue the highest possible level of disaster warnings in some areas.

According to images broadcast on public television, the rain caused the collapse of highways and the obstruction of bridges. In addition, service was suspended along a part of a line of Shinkansen bullet train.

The evacuation of approximately 500 thousand people was ordered in the prefectures of Niigata, Ishikawa and Yamagatathe Fire and Disaster Management Agency said, but there were no immediate reports of deaths.

Although the affected areas are largely rural, they are also home to several factories.

the important chip maker Renesas Electronics Corp temporarily suspended operations in its factory in Yamagatain northern Japan, after local authorities issued a warning about heavy rain on Wednesday night, but said most operations had returned to normal.

Technoflex Corporation said it would suspend production in a factory in Murakami due to a power outage and flooding until the situation stabilizes.

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With information from Reuters

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