TOKYO • A powerful typhoon brought heavy rain and high winds as it approached southern Japan yesterday, causing power outages in several cities and prompting Kansai International Airport in Osaka to plan a temporary closure of its runways from today.
Typhoon Trami, rated category 2 by Tropical Storm Risk, with category 5 being the highest, is the latest storm to threaten Japan in a year of weather-related woes, including punishing heat, heavy rains and landslides.
Outlying islands in the Okinawan chain, some 1,000km south-west of Tokyo, were being pounded by heavy rain and high tides a day before an Okinawan gubernatorial election today.
Strong wind knocked down trees, blew off an outer wall from a building and left nine people injured in Okinawa. Trami also caused power outages in more than 30 towns, according to public broadcaster NHK.
Kansai International Airport in Osaka, western Japan, which was heavily flooded by a typhoon last month, announced that it would close its runways from 11am today until 6am tomorrow.
The airport's operator has been preparing sandbags since last Thursday and plans to deploy about 24,000 this weekend, according to an official who asked not to be identified.
The airport only fully reopened on Sept 21, after floods caused by Typhoon Jebi led to its closure.
NHK also said airlines had cancelled more than 390 flights, mainly those flying in and out of Okinawa. More flight cancellations were planned for today.
Churning north across Okinawa yesterday, Trami is predicted to move across the islands of Kyushu and the main island of Honshu today, a path similar to that taken by Typhoon Jebi, which struck from late last month to earlier this month.
Bullet trains running between the two western cities of Osaka and Hiroshima will suspend operations this morning in anticipation of heavy rain and wind, operator West Japan Railway said.
Last month's Typhoon Jebi, the most powerful storm to hit Japan in 25 years, brought some of the highest tides since a 1961 typhoon.