Powerful typhoon lash western and southern Japan


A powerful typhoon battered Tokyo Monday, disrupting transport, after lashing western and southern Japan, leaving two dead and three missing.

typhoon Typhoon Phanfone made landfall at the city of Hamamatsu, central Japan, shortly after 8 am (2300 GMT Sunday), the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

More than 2 million people were advised to evacuate their homes with the agency warning of mudslides, heavy rains, swollen rivers and strong winds in wide areas of the country, the Kyodo News agency reported.

Tens of thousands of households lost electricity in eastern and central Japan, while rainfall reached 84.5 millimetres per hour in the city of Shizuoka.

On Sunday, a 58-year-old woman was found dead after falling from a cliff in strong winds on the island of Okinawa, the Okinawa Times newspaper reported.

Three US airmen were swamped by high waves on the island. One of the three was recovered and later pronounced dead at a local hospital while the other two remained missing, US Kadena Air Base said.

Authorities were searching for a university student off the coast of Fujisawa city, south of Tokyo, who also went missing while surfing in the area, broadcaster NHK said.

Airlines cancelled more than 600 flights scheduled for Monday and many train services were suspended, including Shinkansen bullet trains, it reported.

The approach of Phanfone halted search operations on Mount Ontake in central Japan, which erupted late last month and left at least 51 people dead and 12 missing.

Authorities warned that heavy ash on the 3,067-metre volcano posed a mudslide risk as the typhoon slammed into the main island.

As of noon, the eye of the storm was around Kasumigaura city, east of Tokyo, travelling north-east at 65 kilometres per hour, the agency said.

The fast-moving typhoon carried maximum sustained winds of 126 kph and gusts of 180 kph, the agency said.

The storm was expected to hit Fukushima later in the day, and Tokyo Electric Power Co suspended all outdoor work at the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear, which suffered a triple meltdown in 2011.

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