Typhoon Haishen closes in as Japan braces for record wind, rain

Tokyo: Typhoon Haishen drew closer to Japan's southern mainland on Sunday, prompting authorities to recommend evacuation and warn of potentially record rainfall, unprecedented wind, high tides and large ocean swells.

Authorities urged early evacuation for more than 100,000 households in the southern prefectures of Okinawa, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, and Nagasaki, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA).

Residents of the islands arrive at a heliport in Kagoshima, southern Japan, to take refuge ahead of a powerful typhoon. Credit:AP

The typhoon has cut power to more than 3000 homes in Okinawa, the southernmost island prefecture, and more than 8000 homes in Amamioshima, according to national broadcaster NHK.

Two injuries have been reported, according to the FDMA, but authorities were advising the highest levels of caution for a typhoon.

"Areas where the typhoon passes are expected to see record high winds and waves," a meteorological official told a nationally televised news conference on Sunday.

"I am urging everyone to take the utmost caution, follow local authorities' instructions and protect your own life. Once you enter an area of high wind, you may not be able to move to a safer place."

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un visits a typhoon-damaged area in the South Hamgyong province, North Korea.Credit:AP

The typhoon is forecast to have atmospheric pressure of 935 hectopascals at its centre, and sustained winds of up to 252 km/h by Monday, the meteorological agency said.

The typhoon's centre was near Amamioshima, between Kagoshima and Okinawa, on Sunday, moving north at 20 km/h.

Airlines have cancelled more than 500 flights departing from Okinawa and southern Japan, NHK said.

Typhoon Haishen follows Typhoon Maysak, which smashed into the Korean peninsula on Thursday, leaving at least two dead and thousands temporarily without power.

Toyota Motor Corporation and Canon are among companies that will shutter factories operating on Kyushu island in southern Japan on Monday.

Canon said it will suspend operations at four manufacturing units affecting seven factories in Kyushu on Monday. Toyota plans to halt operations during the day at three factories in Fukuoka on Monday.

Sony will suspend plants in Kagoshima, Kumamoto, and Nagasaki prefectures from Sunday afternoon until the typhoon passes and the region gets out of the storm warning area, a company spokesperson said. The company is still considering whether to halt its plant in Oita prefecture.

Traffic on the mainland near Kyushu will also face disruptions. West Japan Railway Co. said it will halt operations between Hiroshima and Hakata on Sanyo Shinkansen on Monday, while Central Japan Railway Co. said it could suspend or alter destinations for some of its operations of the high-speed rail network.

Japan Airlines and ANA Holdings plan to partially or totally suspend flights to and from Okinawa and Kyushu on Saturday and Sunday.

Reuters, Bloomberg

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