An evacuation order has been lifted for parts of south-western Japan hit by days of heavy rain and flooding.
But fears of landslides are hampering rescue efforts after troops were deployed to airlift supplies to those stranded and more heavy rain is expected.
Sayaka Matsumoto from the Japanese Red Cross Society, told Radio Australia's program that the risk of further landslides is causing problems.
"Many mountains swallowed lots of water and if more rain comes its easy to have more landslides so more people should be very, very careful," she said.
Days of torrential rain have inundated parts of Kyushu island where rivers have burst their banks and floodwaters have destroyed homes and buildings.
More than 2,000 homes in the north of the island are still without power and at least 28 people have been confirmed dead and four missing.
The Red Cross has distributed blankets and medical supplies.
A typhoon is also expected to hit west of the island, which will likely bring more heavy rainfall.
Weather forecasters say the typhoon will travel just west of the island, but may still bring high winds and more rain.
Sayaka Matsumoto says they are preparing for the worst.
We are hoping the power of the typhoon will be less as it comes up," she said.
"August and September are the times we receive typhoons. This year it seems the typhoons are starting earlier, so I think we still have more typhoons to come."
© ABC 2012
17:25 EST With lots of talk about the cracker start to the grain growing season, there are plenty of farmers who've missed out on that precious rain.