Heavy rain continued to hit wide areas of Japan and affected traffic on Thursday due to typhoon Neoguri making landfall on the southernmost main island of Kyushu earlier in the day before it moved further east, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Since the agency issued its first special alert on Monday warning that the season’s eighth typhoon could be the strongest in decades, three people have died and 66 sustained injuries, according to a tally by Kyodo News at 10pm on Thursday.
After lashing the islands of Okinawa, the typhoon made landfall near the city of Akune, Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Kyushu, shortly before 7am. It made landfall again in southern Wakayama Prefecture in western Japan at about 6.30pm, the agency said.
The typhoon is expected to move east on the Pacific side of the Japanese archipelago and will be downgraded to an extratropical cyclone by Friday afternoon. It could also land on the Tokyo area.
The typhoon brought heavy rain to western Japan. In Seiyo, Ehime Prefecture on the smallest main island of Shikoku, a 77-year-old man was confirmed dead on Thursday after being found collapsed in a waterway.
On Wednesday, a 12-year-old boy died after being hit by mudflow in Nagiso, Nagano Prefecture, while an 83-year-old man died in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, after falling into a river.
Heavy rain pounded many areas in central and western Japan, with hourly rainfall reaching 71 millimetres in Sukumo, Kochi Prefecture, in the southern Shikoku region – a record for July, agency officials said.
Hourly rainfall reached 59.5mm in Minami, Tokushima Prefecture, in the eastern Shikoku region and 53mm in Motosu, Gifu Prefecture, in central Japan.
As of 11pm on Thursday, the typhoon was located in waters about 110 kilometres southwest of Omaezaki in Shizuoka Prefecture. It was moving east-northeast at 40 km/h, with wind gusts of up to 126 km/h.
Due to the typhoon, airlines cancelled more than 200 flights linking Kyushu and Shikoku with other parts of Japan.
Japan’s two major airlines, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, cancelled 47 and 31 flights, respectively. Japan Air Commuter, which is affiliated with JAL, cancelled 86 flights linking remote islands with the country’s main islands.
Railway services of bullet trains were also affected, including those operated by Kyushu Railway, West Japan Railway and East Japan Railway or JR East.
JR East suspended bullet train services between Fukushima and Yamagata stations in northeastern Japan for Thursday due to the heavy rain from the day before.