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At least three dead as Typhoon Wipha grazes Japan

Map tracking the forecast and potential path of Typhoon Wipha. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday. -- PHOT
Map tracking the forecast and potential path of Typhoon Wipha. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
This Oct 15, 2013 NASA satellite image shows Typhoon Wipha off Japan. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday. 
This Oct 15, 2013 NASA satellite image shows Typhoon Wipha off Japan. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP
People walk against strong wind and rain in Tokyo on Oct 16, 2013. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday. --
People walk against strong wind and rain in Tokyo on Oct 16, 2013. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP
People walk against strong wind and rain in Tokyo on Oct 16, 2013. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday. -- PHOTO
People walk against strong wind and rain in Tokyo on Oct 16, 2013. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP
A house and an electric pole smashed by large rocks from a collapsed slope caused by heavy rain in Kamakura, suburban Tokyo on Oct 16, 2013. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing la
A house and an electric pole smashed by large rocks from a collapsed slope caused by heavy rain in Kamakura, suburban Tokyo on Oct 16, 2013. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP
A man struggles against strong wind and rain caused by approaching Typhoon Wipha at a business district in Tokyo on Oct 16, 2013. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides th
A man struggles against strong wind and rain caused by approaching Typhoon Wipha at a business district in Tokyo on Oct 16, 2013. At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

TOKYO (AFP) - At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday.

Around 30 people were unaccounted for after five houses were destroyed or swept away by a series of landslides and floods on Oshima island, which sits some 120km south of the Japanese capital, according to national broadcaster NHK.

Emergency workers had rescued two people who were trapped inside a destroyed house by around 8am, NHK said, adding police and firefighters have not been able to access many areas. Tokyo Metropolitan Police announced two bodies had been discovered in a swollen river and one had been pulled from a smashed house, NHK said.

The local authority has not been able to confirm the safety of some 30 of the island's more than 8,300 residents, NHK said. It was not known if they were simply unable to make contact or if their situation was more grave. Calls to local Oshima police went unanswered.

However, live footage of the island showed severe storm damage to the tourist island known for its camellia flowers. Mud, mangled trees and other debris were piled up around houses, while many local residents had sought shelter in an evacuation centre, reporting muddy water had been gushing into their homes, according to local media.

Further north, the operator of the battered Fukushima nuclear plant said it released some rain water that was trapped inside its barrages, but added that its radiation reading was within safety limits.

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