TOKYO - Japan’s weather agency issued a heavy rain warning for parts of southwestern Japan on Saturday, leading local authorities to direct some 245,000 residents to take immediate action to stay safe as per the highest level 5 alert, local media reported.

On Saturday morning, Japan’s weather agency issued the highest-level alert on the five-level disaster warning scale, covering cities of Izumi, Isa, and Satsumasendai, and the towns of Satsuma and Yusui in Kagoshima Prefecture, also affecting Hitoyoshi in Kumamoto Prefecture and Ebino in Miyazaki Prefecture, involving around 245,000 residents.

The level 5 alert is designed for those who cannot evacuate in the face of imminent danger. The local officials instructed residents who have difficulty taking shelter safely to move to rooftops and such places, staying away from rivers and hills. There are no reports of injuries or casualties yet.

Residents ought to be highly cautious toward mudslides and river overflow especially for those in Kagoshima, an official of the Japan Meteorological Agency said at a press conference. A week ago, torrential rain triggered a large mudslide in the central Japan city of Atami, resulting in nine people dead and 20 still missing. About 10 families were stranded due to collapsed roads, and around 100 evacuation centers were set up in Kagoshima Prefecture.