Typhoon Jebi whips up monster waves, makes landfall in Japan
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Typhoon Jebi whips up monster waves, makes landfall in Japan

Tokyo: At least six people are dead and more than a million set to be evacuated as typhoon Jebi swept through western Japan on Tuesday,  the strongest tropical cyclone to come ashore in 25 years.

As the typhoon made landfall, a 71-year-old man was found dead under a collapsed warehouse, likely due to a strong wind, and a man in his 70s fell from the roof of a house and died, NHK public television reported, adding more than 90 were injured.

And one person in Shiga prefecture was killed when a warehouse collapsed, Kyodo news reported, while broadcaster TBS put the number of deaths at six.

The storm also caused widespread power outages, flooded the region's main airport and paralysed the country's second-largest population centre around Osaka, with companies forced to temporarily close their plants, and power cut to more than 800,000 homes and offices.

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The strong winds and high tides sent a 2591-tonne tanker crashing into a bridge connecting Kansai airport, which is built on a man-made island in a bay, to the mainland. The bridge was damaged but the tanker was empty and none of its crew was injured, the coast guard said.

Jebi, whose name means "swallow" in Korean - is the the 21st typhoon of the season. It made landfall in Tokushima prefecture on Japan's smallest main island of Shikoku, and was on path to strike the part of the country home to Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. The typhoon was carrying strong winds of up to 162 kilometres per hour, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

That made it a "very strong" typhoon, the second-highest on the JMA's scale. It was the first time for a typhoon to make landfall at that strength since 1993.

High waves hit breakwaters at a port of Aki, Kochi prefecture, Japan, on Tuesday.

High waves hit breakwaters at a port of Aki, Kochi prefecture, Japan, on Tuesday.Credit:Kyodo/AP

The typhoon has disrupted business in one of Japan's main industrial centres. Local and high-speed trains between Osaka and Hiroshima were cancelled. Services from Tokyo to Osaka were running reduced operations, while almost 600 domestic and international flights were cancelled.

Local production was also hit, with Toyota halting operations at most of its group plants, and Honda halting its Suzuka plant in Mie prefecture. Kyocera, Murata Manufacturing, Panasonic and Shiseido were among other manufacturers shutting some of their facilities.

The Universal Studios Japan theme park, one of Osaka's main tourist draws, was shut down for the entire day.

Amid strong winds and storm surges, Kansai International Airport, built on an artificial island almost directly in the cyclone's path, suffered flooding to its runway and terminal building. A tanker also collided with a bridge linking the airport to the mainland and forcing the airport to close entirely. A spokeswoman for the airport said it's unknown when it can resume operations.

Powerful Typhoon Jebi is forecast to bring heavy rain and high winds to much of the country.

Powerful Typhoon Jebi is forecast to bring heavy rain and high winds to much of the country. Credit:Kyodo/AP

About 860,000 buildings in the Kansai, Shikoku and Chubu regions were without power as of 5 pm local time, according to regional utilities, and more than 680,000 people had been issued evacuation orders or advisories, Asahi reported.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called off a planned trip to Fukuoka in the southern island of Kyushu to deal with the disaster response.

After hitting western Japan, Jebi is set to speed up further as it passes over the main island of Honshu and into the Sea of Japan, where it will weaken. While Tokyo will be spared the worst of the storm, authorities have warned of very strong winds and heavy rain even in the capital.

A flight information board shows the cancellation of flights at Osaka airport, on Tuesday.

A flight information board shows the cancellation of flights at Osaka airport, on Tuesday.Credit:Kyodo/AP

The typhoon is also bringing further downpours to areas that were devastated by sudden rainfall in early July that killed more than 200 people. Jebi is predicted to bring heavy rains through Wednesday.

Jebi is the fourth typhoon to make landfall in Japan this season. Recent years have seen an increase in the number of typhoons directly hitting Japan, with at least four making landfall every year since 2014.

Bloomberg, AP