Japan braces for Typhoon Jebi, ‘strongest storm in quarter century’

Waves crash off the coast of Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture on Monday afternoon

Waves crash off the coast of Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture on Monday afternoon. | KYODO

A powerful typhoon slammed into western Japan on Tuesday, causing heavy rain to flood the region's main offshore global airport and strong winds to blow a tanker into a bridge, disrupting land and air travel.

Japan's most powerful typhoon in 25 years has caused chaos across the country and left at least eight dead.

The fire and disaster management agency said that evacuation advisories were issued for 1.19 million people in western and central Japan with another 16,000 people issued with stronger but non-mandatory evacuation orders. Shinkansen bullet train services between Tokyo and Okayama were suspended and Universal Studios Japan, a popular amusement park near Osaka, was closed.

A powerful typhoon slammed into western Japan on Tuesday, causing heavy rain to flood the region's main worldwide airport and strong winds to blow a tanker into a bridge, disrupting land and air travel and leaving thousands stranded. Flooding covered the runways at Kansai International Airport in Osaka. It raked across the western part of the largest main island, Honshu, near the city of Kobe, several hours later, heading rapidly north.

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A very strong typhoon brought heavy rain and strong winds across Kinki and Shikoku regions of western Japan, and Tokai and Hokuriku regions on Tuesday, killing one person in the Kinki region.

High waves whipped up by the storm also flooded parts of the seaside airport, where all flights were cancelled, and the severe weather caused power outages and travel chaos across much of the country.

Tokyo managed to escape Typhoon Jebi's menacing threat, but will expect heavy rains and high winds over the next few days.

It is the first typhoon to land on Japan with a maximum sustained wind speed of 44 meters or more per second since the 13th typhoon of 1993, according to the agency. The tanker and bridge were both damaged but the ship's crew were unhurt.

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also cancelled a scheduled trip to Kyushu, Japan's southernmost main island, to oversee the Government's response to the typhoon, Kyodo said.

A photo circulating on social media shows flooding at Osaka's Kansai International Airport as Typhoon Jebi battered Japan's western coast on Sep 4, 2018.

Around 97 people have been injured, though none have been seriously hurt, according to Japan broadcaster NHK.

About 350,000 buildings were without power as of 2:15 p.m., according to regional utilities, mostly in Wakayama prefecture.

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Gales, thunderstorms, dense fog, floods and high waves have also been forecast in these areas.

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