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Sunday, 18 August, 2002, 05:03 GMT 06:03 UK
Typhoon Phanfone threatens Japan
Surfers take advantage of big waves off Japan
Surfers take advantage of the high waves
Typhoon Phanfone is already causing rains and strong winds from a distance on Japan's main island of Honshu, and officials warn the typhoon itself could hit Tokyo within 24 hours.

Phanfone was moving north quickly from its position about 300 kilometres (190 miles) southwest of Tokyo, and with winds gusting at up to 145 km/h (90 mph).

The typhoon was supposed to lash Tokyo sometime on Monday, the Japanese Meteorological Agency said.

Beachgoers brave winds at Kamakura, southwest of Tokyo
High winds did not deter some beachgoers

Already, four people have reportedly disappeared off the coast of Kanagawa prefecture, west of the capital, in extremely rough seas.

The weather warnings did not stop surfers from trying to take advantage of the waves the typhoon's winds were pushing ahead of it.

Making waves

According to the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Phanfone is causing waves within its storm area as high as 8.5 metres.

Phanfone, Laotian for animal, was expected to head north up Japan's coast.

It was supposed to hit the small Pacific island of Hachijojima on Sunday.

Phanfone, the season's 13th typhoon, comes about a month after Typhoon Fengshen hit Japan.

That typhoon, which was downgraded to a tropical storm, caused a Panamanian freighter to run aground off the south-western coast of Japan. Four crew members died in the incident.

See also:

14 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
12 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
05 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
04 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
18 Sep 00 | Science/Nature
30 Apr 02 | Country profiles
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