The death toll from a huge mudslide earlier this month in the hot spring resort of Atami southwest of Tokyo has risen to 18, with 12 others still missing, local authorities said Sunday.

Search operations continue in the Shizuoka Prefecture hot spring resort city of Atami, central Japan, on July 13, 2021, following the July 3 deadly mudslide that was triggered by heavy rain. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Rescuers confirmed five deaths in the area hit by the mudslide on July 3, according to officials of Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture.

About 1,300 police, firefighter and Self-Defense Forces personnel are continuing to search the site of the mudslide, which experts believe was caused by soil heaped on a mountainside coming loose in heavy rainfall.

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