Atami mudslide blamed on city, prefecture’s lack of cooperation

SHIZUOKA (Jiji Press)—A third-party investigative panel said Monday that Shizuoka Prefecture failed to cooperate properly with the city of Atami despite realizing the danger of a soil mound involved in a deadly mudslide in the city in July last year.

In its interim report, the panel said related sections of the prefectural and city governments “should have worked together to address” the risk.

The panel is set to compile a final report including its assessment on the city government’s response.

The mudslide in Atami left 27 people dead, including one indirect fatality, and one missing. About 130 buildings were damaged.

According to the interim report, the land in question was sold to the current owner in February 2011. The former owner had created the soil mound there.

As land modification work there came to a halt after the change of ownership, the matter was not taken over within the prefectural government. Only the prefectural section in charge of dealing with waste continued to monitor the land, while other related sections rarely visited there.