The death toll also highlights the severity of the crisis because people have perished in many prefectures.
It's the highest death toll from a flood-related disaster in Japan since 1982. The Associated Press reported that 10.4 inches of rain accumulated in its Kochi Prefecture in just three hours and that landslide warnings were issued for the entire island.
More than 70,000 rescuers continued to search for the missing in the affected areas, including the hardest-hit regions in Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime prefectures.
"I saw the tremendous scars (left by the rain)", Abe said following his visit to Okayama Prefecture on Wednesday during a task force meeting, while revealing that the government has secured about 71,000 dwellings as temporary housing for people affected by the disaster.
In the city of Kurashiki, Teruo Sasai, whose house was flooded out, said he could not believe how much destruction had overtaken his neighborhood.
Thousands of houses have been damaged, and even the ones that stand intact have been impacted.
Damaged infrastructure could complicate recuse efforts with the possibly of more deadly mudslides.
According to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the flurry of rainfall that began last week intensified to record-breaking levels over the weekend. Rivers overflowed, landslides crushed buildings, and cars were swept away by floodwater.
PM thanks foreign rescuers for helping save trapped boys and their coach
Gen.Prayut also thanked Elon Musk , the founder of SpaceX, for offering his help to the trapped boy footballers and their coach . They were "safe and conscious" in hospital after they were removed by divers from the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai province.
Suga said the government set up a taskforce and was spending $26 million to hasten deliveries of supplies and other support for evacuation centers and residents in the region.
Several dozen Mihara residents ventured down from shelters on Sunday to inspect the damage to their homes in the Hongo district of the city, where many locals are rice farmers.
In Kurashiki near Okayama, soldiers were deployed to carry elderly residents from their homes into waiting boats.
Water supplies were still cut off for around 255,000 homes in 12 prefectures in western Japan as of noon Tuesday, according to the health ministry.
"I have asked my family to prepare for the worst", said Kosuke Kiyohara, 38, as he waited for word of his sister and her two young sons in the town of Kumano. "I can never find them anymore".
In neighbouring Okayama prefecture, rescue workers flew in helicopters over areas that are still submerged and otherwise unreachable, looking for signs of life. And despite the let-up in the rains, new flood warnings were still being issued today. Those participating in cleanup efforts should be careful with heat strokes, as the next few days are expected to be hot and clear.
Abe canceled a planned trip to Europe and the Middle East this week to oversee the emergency response. Rescue efforts are underway as overflowing water filled with debris and mud is now flooding homes.