KAGOSHIMA (Japan) • A powerful typhoon pounded Japan's mainland yesterday after injuring dozens on outlying islands, bringing transport grinding to a halt and triggering warnings of fierce winds, torrential rain, landslides and floods.
Typhoon Trami has already snarled up travel in the world's third-biggest economy, with bullet train services suspended, more than 1,000 flights cancelled and Tokyo's evening train services scrapped.
The storm made landfall at Tanabe city, south of the city of Osaka, at around 8pm local time, according to Japan's Meteorological Agency. It earlier warned that the typhoon could trigger landslides and floods across the nation.
Trami's huge eye was forecast to move near the city of Osaka before churning across the Japanese archipelago, likely hitting areas still recovering from extreme weather that has battered Japan in recent months.
Kansai International Airport in Osaka, which was heavily flooded by a typhoon last month, said it had closed its runways until 6am today.
In total, 75 people had minor injuries - mainly cuts from shattered glass - and a woman in her 60s was reported missing in Miyazaki prefecture, which was drenched by record rainfall and had localised flooding.
Number of residents nationwide issued with non-compulsory evacuation advisories.
Nationwide, the authorities have issued non-compulsory evacuation advisories to 1.5 million residents, according to public broadcaster NHK, and officials urged people to stay indoors.
Nearly 500,000 households in the south-western region of Kyushu and Okinawa have lost power, said the local utilities.
Violent gusts and heavy rain made it impossible to venture outside, said Mr Yuji Ueno, an official in the town of Shirahama in Wakayama prefecture, which was forecast to be in Trami's path.
"From around 2pm, we saw incredible winds and rain. I stepped outside the city hall in the afternoon and the rain was swirling in very strong wind. Enormous wind. It was difficult to stay standing. It was very scary," Mr Ueno told Agence France-Presse.
As the typhoon barrelled east, the rail authorities took the highly unusual step of cancelling evening train services in Tokyo, one of the world's busiest networks, urging passengers to shelter indoors when the storm hits.
The typhoon is not expected to hit the capital head-on but there were fears it would bring strong winds and heavy rain, starting from yesterday night. Some businesses were already putting up shutters and hunkering down.
Trami is the latest in a string of extreme natural events in Japan, which has suffered typhoons, flooding, earthquakes and heatwaves in recent months, claiming scores of lives and causing extensive damage.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS