Typhoon hits Tokyo area leaving one dead, transport in disarray

Planes, trains cancelled, 930,000 homes without power as record-breaking winds and heavy rain lash Japanese capital.

    Pedestrians walk past collapsed steel advertising boards caused by Typhoon Faxai in Tokyo. [Kiyoshi Takenaka/Reuters]
    Pedestrians walk past collapsed steel advertising boards caused by Typhoon Faxai in Tokyo. [Kiyoshi Takenaka/Reuters]

    One of the strongest typhoons to hit Tokyo in recent years made landfall just east of Japan's capital on Monday, leaving one dead amd bringing record-breaking winds and stinging rain.

    More than 130 flights were cancelled and train services closed for hours, snarling the morning commute for millions in a greater Tokyo area that has a population of some 36 million, as authorities warned it was dangerous to venture outside.

    Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters that he had received a report of one death as well as damage caused by toppling trees and objects hurled into the air by the wind. Some 900,000 power failures were also reported, he said.

    Typhoon Faxai made landfall in the city of Chiba, just east of Tokyo, a little before dawn, bringing with it wind gusts of 207km/hour in Chiba, the strongest-ever recorded there, national broadcaster NHK said.

    One woman was seriously injured after a metal pole from a golf course crashed onto her home.

    Kyodo News Agency cited local authorities as saying at least 30 people had been hurt in Chiba, Kanagawa and Shizuoka prefectures.

    Between four and five typhoons hit Japan every year, but it is unusual for them to do so near Tokyo. NHK said Faxai was the strongest storm in the area for several years.

    Evacuations ordered

    The storm had headed out to sea by mid-morning, but authorities warned heavy rain was likely to continue for some hours raising the risk of landslides and flooding. Kyodo reported more than 440 millimetres of rain had fallen in the city of Izu in Shizuoka prefecture in the past 24 hours

    Winds were occasionally strong enough to shake buildings in the city of Ichikawa, as normally busy streets were deserted.

    Once transport services began to resume, usually congested trains and major stations were even more crowded than usual, with trains stopping temporarily and running erratically.

    "I can't go to work now, and I also had to contact my customers," said Tsubasa Kikuchi, a 23-year-old real estate worker, who had been waiting at Shimbashi station for more than two hours. "This is troublesome."

    Metal signs were torn from the sides of buildings, trucks overturned, the metal roof of a petrol station torn off and glass display cases destroyed, scattering pavements with broken glass. Twenty-four-hour fast food restaurants in central Tokyo closed, protecting their windows with plywood.

    Trees were uprooted throughout the metropolitan area, and parts of the Tokaido Shinkansen line were briefly halted before service resumed several hours later.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency