Deadly storm lashes northern Japan

Four people reported dead as strong winds and heavy rains batter the country, disrupting air and train transport.

    Strong winds caused flight cancellations and disrupted transport systems [Reuters]
    Strong winds caused flight cancellations and disrupted transport systems [Reuters]

    A powerful storm lashed Japan with heavy rain and strong winds, killing four people and paralysing air and train traffic in Tokyo.

    The storm was moving east on Wednesday and was covering all of the north of Japan's main island of Honshu and much of the northernmost island of Hokkaido, battering the region with strong winds caused by what meteorologists said was a severe low-pressure system.

    On Sado island, on Honshu's northwest, gusts of up to 156 kilometres per hour were recorded.

    The dead included a 96-year-old man who fell from the roof of a three-story house during high winds and a 28-year-old woman who was hit by a falling tree while walking a dog.

    The storm temporarily reduced electricity supplies to the Onagawa nuclear power plant, in Miyagi prefecture, halting the cooling system for a fuel pool, operator Tohoku-Electric Power Co said.

    Plant workers manually restarted the cooling system after about 20 minutes, it said. "There was no problem in the operation," a company spokesman added.

    The stormy weather also cut electricity supplies to 132,000 households in the northern Tohoku region as of mid-afternoon Wednesday, according to the utility.

    Transport was widely disrupted on Tuesday as the storm moved through Japan, with about 600 domestic flights cancelled, affecting some 74,000 passengers.

    On Wednesday 72 flights were grounded, stranding around 6,000 people. Many commuter lines and some shinkansen bullet train services were also suspended because of the wind.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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