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Powerful typhoon on course to hit Japan's Okinawa

Published on Sep 15, 2012 5:33 PM
Typhoon Sanba is shown in the Philippine Sea, on its northward journey towards Japan's southwestern island of Okinawa, in this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from NASA's Aqua satellite, on Sept 13, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - A powerful typhoon packing winds of up to 270km per hour was churning towards Okinawa in southern Japan on Saturday, grounding nearly 80 flights, officials said.

Typhoon Sanba, located in the Pacific about 310km south of Okinawa at 0700 GMT (3pm Singapore time), was forecast to make landfall early on Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

It was expected to move over the East China Sea and reach a strait between the Korean peninsula and Japan's main island of Kyushu on Monday afternoon.

All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines cancelled a total of 76 flights to and from Okinawa, affecting 17,000 passengers, airline officials said.