Typhoon bears down on Japan, areas hit by previous storm


It is expected to make landfall on Kyushu island on Sunday bringing heavy rains, strong winds and high waves.

About 320 domestic and worldwide flights into and out of Naha Airport were canceled for September 29.

Many flights were cancelled at major airports throughout Japan, including Tokyo's Narita and Haneda, as Typhoon Trami approached. The bullet train service between Kumamoto and central Kagoshima was also halted, according to the Kyushu Railway.

Over Sept. 30 to October 1, the typhoon is expected to hit the Amami Islands, southern Kyushu, Shikoku and the Kinki regions in southwestern and western Japan with strong winds of up to 45 m/s (162 kph), with maximum gusts hitting 60 m/s (216 kph). Tokyo's train lines announced they were shutting down after 8pm (6pm in Thailand).

On Sept 4, Jebi also caused a tanker to smash into and damage a bridge connecting Kansai International Airport with the mainland, stranding thousands of people at the airport at one point.

Typhoon Trami lost some strength after making landfall near Tanabe City, 450 km (280 miles) southwest of Tokyo, earlier in the evening, prompting the Japan Meteorological Agency to downgrade it to a "strong" typhoon from an "extremely strong" one.

No deaths were reported, but at least 52 people were injured as the storm passed.

The storm'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.

Typhoon Trami tears through southern Japan
AFP EPA Pedestrians struggling against the wind in Kagoshima

The typhoon was expected to pick up speed and maintain its strong force while possibly making landfall in western Japan on September 30.

Almost 500,000 households in the western region of Kyushu and Okinawa have lost power, local utilities said.

"We are urging our residents to stay vigilant against the typhoon", he told AFP.

The typhoon has already led to flight cancellations and power outages in several cities.

Kansai International Airport, which serves the greater Osaka area in western Japan, closed two runways from 11 a.m. on Sunday through 6 a.m. on Monday to prepare for the possible impact of Trami, according to a statement on its website.

There have already been heavy downpours in large areas of western and eastern Japan, including the capital, as the storm spurred a seasonal rain front. Typhoon Jebi claimed 11 lives and shut down Kansai Airport, the main regional airport.

Also in September, a magnitude 6.6 quake rocked the northern island of Hokkaido, sparking landslides and leaving more than 40 people dead.

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