TOKYO — The mayor of a Japanese island devastated by a deadly typhoon apologized Thursday for failing to issue an evacuation order, as rescuers combed mountains of debris searching for the missing.
Typhoon Wipha, which swept up Japan’s east coast on Wednesday, killed at least 22 people, and more than 30 others are missing, government officials said. Most of the victims were on Izu Oshima island, 75 miles south of Tokyo.
‘‘There is concern that perhaps more lives could have been saved if there had been an evacuation. We have concluded this and must apologize,’’ Mayor Masafumi Kawashima said at a news conference. ‘‘It’s my deepest regret and I will not forget this.’’
About 1,100 rescuers were searching huge piles of trees and destroyed homes swept downhill by mudslides, shouting in hopes of finding survivors..
Town officials had issued repeated warnings of river flooding early Wednesday morning, during the worst of the torrential downpour, but stopped short of ordering any areas evacuated.