A powerful typhoon has swept through Japan, triggering landslides and killing at least 14 people on an island off the east coast.

Rescue workers found 14 bodies on Izu Oshima island, about 120km south of Tokyo. Police and town officials said most of them had been buried by mudslides.

Dozens of homes were destroyed, and more than 50 people are still missing.


"We have no idea how bad the extent of damage could be,'' town official Hinani Uematsu said.

Typhoon Wipha packed gusts of up to 180 kph as it barrelled past Japan. Although the eye of the storm didn't make landfall, the typhoon caused desruption along the country's east coast, paralysing public transport and grounding hundreds of flights in the capital, Tokyo.

NHK public television showed rescue workers struggling to dig a woman out of a heap of debris as she shrieked in pain.

A rescuer told NHK that he almost walked by the spot without seeing the woman in the debris until she cried out, "Help!'"

More heavy rain and wind were forecast in northern Japan.

Source: Agencies