Typhoon batters western Japan with record rain, killing two


© Reuters.

By Kevin Buckland and Kiyoshi Takenaka

TOKYO (Reuters) -Typhoon Nanmadol, one of the biggest storms to hit Japan in years, killed at least two people and brought ferocious winds and record rainfall to the west of the country on Monday, causing transport disruptions and forcing manufacturers to suspend operations.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delayed his departure to New York for the U.N. General Assembly this week to assess the damage from Japan’s 14th typhoon of the season.

“I postponed my scheduled departure from today to take stock of the damage caused by the typhoon and to take all possible measures for recovery,” Kishida told reporters on Monday evening, adding that he would leave on Tuesday morning if conditions permit.

Nanmadol made landfall near Kagoshima city late on Sunday before battering the western island of Kyushu and roaring onto the main island of Honshu on Monday morning.

A river in Kyushu’s Miyazaki prefecture overflowed, flooding fields and roads, footage from public broadcaster NHK showed. Other video showed a riverside house half hanging over a torrent, the tin roof ripped off a gas station, and a toppled billboard leaning over a street from the top of a building.

“We need to remain highly vigilant for heavy rains, gales, high waves and storm surges,” a Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) official told a news conference.

Local media said one man was found dead inside his car, which was submerged up to its roof in the middle of a field, while another man died after being caught in a landslide.

One other person remains missing, and at least 115 people have been injured, NHK said.

About 286,000 households were without electricity on Monday afternoon, down from some 340,000 households earlier on the day, the trade ministry said.

Kyushu Railway Co said it had halted operations of both high-speed and regular trains, while Japan Airline Co Ltd and ANA Holdings cancelled about 800 flights, NHK reported.

The storm made landfall again in Shimane prefecture in western Honshu after tracking the coastline earlier on Monday, and was heading east at about 35 km per hour (22 miles per hour), the JMA said.

Up to 300 mm (11.8 inches) of rain was expected in central Japan’s Tokai region, the nation’s industrial heartland, over the 24-hour-period to Tuesday evening, it said.

Toyota Motor (NYSE:) Corp has suspended night shifts on 24 lines at 12 of its domestic plants on Monday, a company spokesperson said, adding that the company planned to make up for the lost production with overtime and operations on holidays.

Intermittent bouts of heavy rain lashed Tokyo but businesses in the capital were largely operating as normal.

Most schools were closed on Monday anyway for a public holiday.


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By Reuters