2 dead, one missing as Typhoon Vongfong pounds Japan

High waves surge toward a port of Kawaminami town in Miyazaki prefecture, Japan's southern island of Kyushu, on Oct 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
High waves surge toward a port of Kawaminami town in Miyazaki prefecture, Japan's southern island of Kyushu, on Oct 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Two men were killed and one remains missing after powerful typhoon Vongfong pounded Japan this week, officials said Tuesday, the latest storm to hit the disaster-prone archipelago.

The typhoon churned through eastern Japan early Tuesday after hitting Okinawa over the weekend and making landfall on the nation's southern main island of Kyushu on Monday, the meteorological agency said.

At least 96 people were injured in typhoon-related accidents across the nation, while local authorities issued evacuation advisories to more than 800,000 residents, NHK said.

The body of a 90-year-old man was found in a farm ditch in Tottori, western Japan, a spokesman with the Tottori Police Department said.

"We suspect the man fell accidentally into the ditch late Monday due to the storm," the spokesman told AFP.

A 72-year-old man was also found dead early Tuesday in Ehime, western Japan, after his small truck fell into a pond on Monday, the local police said.

A Chinese man has been missing in Shizuoka, central Japan, since he was swept away with high waves triggered by the typhoon over the weekend, officials said.

Packing winds of up to 144 kmh, the typhoon was whirling over Fukushima as of 5am (4am Singapore time), the weather agency said.

Heavy rain hit the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the northeastern Pacific coast, "but we have not received any reports of damage or abnormality", said a spokesman with Tokyo Electric Power.

"We have halted ground work but plan to resume operations as soon as the plant's safety can be confirmed," the spokesman said.

The storm was downgraded to a extra-tropical depression by mid-morning and moving away from Japan. It was located off the coast of northeastern Japan at 0300 GMT.

Television footage showed a car crashed under the roof of a house ripped off by gusts in Hiroshima, western Japan, with taxis driven slowly on flooded roads in Sendai, northeastern Japan.

The weather agency warned that landslides, floods, high waves and heavy rains could hit a large swathe of the archipelago, where a relatively wet summer brought numerous landslides.

Airlines plan to cancel 78 flights Tuesday after the typhoon grounded 644 services the previous day, NHK said.

The typhoon came just a week after another strong tropical cyclone whipped through the country, leaving 11 people dead or missing.

Due to the latest storm, the search has been suspended for the bodies of at least seven hikers believed to remain on the still-smouldering Mount Ontake, where 56 bodies have already been retrieved.