Thousands of people were evacuated and hundreds of flights were canceled. Typhoon Nabi was packing winds of up to 162 kilometers per hour as it slowly moved toward Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, Japan's Meteorological

Agency said.

As of Monday night, the typhoon was about 100km south of Yakushima island. It was expected to hit Kyushu island midnight Monday and head
northeast, it said, predicting up to 80cm of rain in southern Kyushu.

Nabi, which means butterfly in Korean, was expected to reach western Japan and Hokkaido by Wednesday, the agency said.

In Miyazaki prefecture (state) on Kyushu, two women, 87 and 51 years old, suffered head injuries as they were sprayed with shards of broken windows hit by the wind, while a 51-year-old man fell from a veranda and suffered bruises, the National police agency said.

The prefectural police said a 43-year-old man was injured slightly after falling from a roof. About 18,000 people were evacuated because of fears of flooding and mudslides from heavy rains, Miyazaki police said.

Japanese airlines cancelled more
than 300 domestic flights 

In nearby Kagoshima prefecture, a 53-year-old man went missing when a mudslide tore through a chicken pen with him inside, and a 55-year-old man suffered minor head and arm injuries when he fell from a ladder, police said.

Okinawa

In another southern island of Okinawa, two women, 79 and 91, broke their thighs when they stepped outside their homes, the national police said. An 80-year-old woman slipped on the street and suffered a minor head injury.

Public broadcaster NHK said more than 190,000 houses lost electricity on Kyushu. The government has set up a task force to monitor damage, said Yu Kameoka, a spokesman for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Flights cancelled

Japanese airlines canceled more than 300 domestic flights, mostly those linking Kyushu and Tokyo, for Monday, and more cancellations were expected Tuesday.

Heavy rains pounded Tokyo and its surrounding areas late on Sunday, flooding thousands of homes and leaving one person dead.

A 61-year-old man drowned in Saitama prefecture (state), just west of Tokyo, while walking in a flooded street, police said.

Up to 23cm of rain was recorded in parts of Tokyo overnight, the Meteorological Agency said.

About 2850 households in Tokyo, Saitama and Kanagawa were flooded, according to Kyodo News agency.

Last year, Japan was struck by a record 10 typhoons and tropical storms, leaving nearly 220 people dead or missing, the largest casualty toll since 1983. Typhoon Tokage, which hit in October, was Japan's deadliest storm in more than a decade, killing 83 people.

If the typhoon remains on the same track, it is expected to directly affect the southern and eastern parts of South Korea on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Lee Chan-goo, an official at the Korea Meteorological Administration.

Lee predicted, however, that the typhoon will lose some of its strength when it lands on Kyushu.

Waves

On Monday, the typhoon caused high waves in seas off the southern coast of South Korea, forcing authorities to suspend some ferry services. One flight linking Seoul and the southern port city of Pohang was canceled due to strong winds.

Nabi will be the first typhoon to hit South Korea this year. One or two typhoons usually affect South Korea this time of the year.

In 2003, Typhoon Maemi, the most powerful typhoon in South Korean records, churned through the country, killing at least 117 people.