TOKYO, May 4, 2012 (AFP) - Thousands of residents in Japan's northeastern region hit by last year's tsunami were ordered to evacuate their homes after heavy rain brought fears of flooding and landslides, officials said on Friday. A low pressure system brought torrential rain to the region, with 344 millimetres (13.5 inches) of rainfall recorded in 24 hours in Iwate prefecture's disaster-hit Yamada town, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. In Kesennuma city, another community that was hard-hit by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11 last year, some 2,300 people were urged to evacuate due to fears of flooding, a city official said. Local authorities also ordered more than 2,000 residents to evacuate the inland Taiwa town, Miyagi prefecture, but allowed them to go home by early Friday, the city said. The weather agency warned people in Miyagi and Iwate prefecture and the northern main island of Hokkaido to continue exercising caution against landslides and flooding on Friday.