'Very strong' typhoon Jebi on course to hit Japan

Japan typhoon Jebi latest news Osaka Tokyo

A pedestrian struggles against strong winds and rain generated by typhoon Jebi near Osaka station in Osaka, western Japan, 04 September 2018.

Local media said the typhoon, which is still hundreds of kilometres away from Japan in the Pacific Ocean, is likely to become the strongest storm to hit the nation this year, despite the fact that it is now weakening.

Japan has been hit by a succession of typhoons recently, with western parts of the country devastated by massive flooding and landslides that left more than 220 people dead in July. Two people have died due to the storm and more than 126 people have been injured.

Water covered one runway at Kansai International Airport, built on an artificial island in Osaka Bay.

The main offshore worldwide airport is under water and strong winds have blown a shipping tanker into a bridge.

Meanwhile, over 700 flights were cancelled, including global flights departing and arriving at Nagoya and Osaka, along with high-speed bullet train services were suspended from Tokyo west to Hiroshima, officials said. However, it is set to speed up once it makes landfall, minimising the amount of rain that will fall in one place.

More than 1.2 million people had been advised to leave their homes as Jebi approached the Kansai area - Japan's industrial heartland - although it was unclear how many had heeded the warnings.

The meteorological Agency of Japan urge caution in connection with the gusts of wind and high waves in Northern Japan, despite the fact that the Typhoon has become a zone of low atmospheric pressure off the coast of Hokkaido.

Hundreds of flights, trains and ferries have had to be cancelled.

Forecasters recorded wind gusts of up to 129 miles per hour in one part of Shikoku, the smallest main island, and 135 miles per hour elsewhere. A closure of the only worldwide airport serving one of Japan's key business and commercial areas has triggered concerns about its impact on Japan's tourism and economy. About 600 domestic aircraft flights were canceled in West Japan.

Primary and middle schools in the storm's path were closed while regional businesses also reacted quickly, with Universal Studios Japan in Osaka shutting down for Tuesday along with factories for several large manufacturers.

The typhoon first made landfall on Japan's southwest island of Shikoku and then again near Kobe on Honshu.

In nearby Shiga prefecture, a 71-year-old man died when a storage unit collapsed on him, and a man in his 70s died after falling from a roof in Mie, officials said.

A major airport that was cut off when a huge typhoon smashed through its sole access road was being evacuated Wednesday, as Japan grappled with devastation caused by its most powerful storm in a quarter of a century.

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