Thousands were stranded as the powerful typhoon washed out bridges [REUTERS/Kyodo]

Japan's death toll from Typhoon Talas has risen to at least 25 with 53 people still missing, the government said on Monday.

Torrential rain and destructive winds swept across western and central regions of the country through Saturday and Sunday, triggering mudslides and bursting river banks.

The Kii Peninsula, in central Japan southwest of Tokyo, was worst hit and rescue workers said the number of victims could grow, the Kyodo news agency reported.

In addition to the dead and missing, thousands more were standed as the typhoon washed out bridges, railways and roads.

"We'll do our utmost in terms of search and rescue operations," Yoshihiko Noda, the Japanese prime minister, told reporters.

The typhoon has mostly moved at about 10km per hour and its slow progress caused heavy and prolonged rainfall over Japan, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

At least 3,600 people were stranded by flooded rivers, landslides and collapsed bridges that were hampering rescue efforts, Kyodo reported. More than 450,000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes.

The centre of the season's 12th typhoon, the worst to hit Japan since 2004, crossed the southern island of Shikoku and the central part of the main island of Honshu overnight on Saturday.

It then moved slowly north across the Sea of Japan off the country's west coast, the JMA said. It was still offshore in the Sea of Japan on Monday.

Heavy rain is expected in the north of the country, though the JMA warned residents of the west to remain
on alert for landslides.

Source: Agencies