Page last updated at 08:32 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 09:32 UK

Typhoon lashes Japan on landfall


Strong winds ripped the roofs off houses and knocked over trucks

A typhoon has struck Japan, killing two people and leaving a trail of damage across the centre of the country.

More than 40 people were injured as Typhoon Melor landed south-west of Tokyo on the main island of Honshu.

Strong winds and heavy rains flooded roads, uprooted trees and tore roofs from houses. Many flights and train services were cancelled.

The typhoon weakened and moved into the Pacific, leaving blue skies over Tokyo, the BBC correspondent there says.

Commuters stranded

The typhoon made landfall on Japan's main island of Honshu shortly before dawn in Aichi prefecture, to the south-west of Tokyo.

It moved across densely populated central Japan, with winds gusting up to 198km/h (123 mph).

Driving rain flooded roads while the strong winds ripped the roofs off houses and knocked over trucks on the highways.

Commuters in dark rain, downtown Tokyo, 8 Oct 09

A 69-year-old man was killed in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, by a large branch that was ripped from a tree by the strong winds.

In Wakayama Prefecture in western Japan a newspaper deliveryman died when his motorcycle hit a fallen tree.

Dozens more people were injured, many by wind-blown debris or broken glass.

More than 300 flights were cancelled because of the storm, as were bullet train services.

In Tokyo overland train lines were temporarily suspended, stranding commuters in the busy morning rush hour.

A number of factories halted production in central Japan but managers said they would make up the lost output later.

Tens of thousands of households were without electricity in western Mie and central Gifu prefectures, while a blackout also hit 3,500 households in Tokyo and in neighbouring Kanagawa, power companies said.

Typhoon season

Despite Japan's extensive defences against floods and landslides, including storm surge barriers in coastal areas, western Japan was battered in October 2004 by Typhoon Tokage, which killed 95 people.

In August this year, Typhoon Etau brought flash floods and landslides that killed at least 25 people in Japan, even though it avoided a direct hit.

Another powerful storm, Ketsana, has caused devastation across South East Asia, killing hundreds of people, mostly in the Philippines and Vietnam.

In Taiwan more than 600 people died after Typhoon Morakot struck in August.

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