Japanese rescue workers yesterday searched the ruins of homes looking for dozens of people still missing after deadly rains that killed more than 200 people.
Operations were under way to dig out and clear up after the devastating floods and landslides that engulfed entire neighbourhoods.
But with around 60 people still feared missing, local authorities said they would continue searching house by house looking for survivors, or victims.
"The critical 72 hours have passed," acknowledged Mutsunari Imawaka, an official with Okayama prefecture, one of the worst-hit regions.
"But we will continue our search believing there are still survivors," he told AFP.
He said at least 18 people were missing in Okayama alone, and that several thousand people were checking houses across the region.
Television footage showed dozens of rescuers, including troops, removing massive rocks with mechanical diggers from houses buried in landslides.
Rescuers were also manually shovelling dirt to search for missing people.