Japan braces for strike from powerful typhoon

Super Typhoon Jebi Is the typhoon strengthening? Will it make landfall in Japan

Typhoon Jebi made landfall in western Japan on Tuesday, the strongest tropical cyclone to come ashore in Japan in 25 years, and has picked up speed as it bears down on one of Japan's most densely populated areas.

The storm made landfall on Shikoku, the smallest main island, around noon.

It raked across the western part of the largest main island, Honshu, near the city of Kobe, several hours later, heading rapidly north.

Heavy rain and crashing surf were striking western Japan as a powerful typhoon neared its Pacific coast Tuesday, disrupting train service and air travel.

Typhoon Jebi dragged the 292-foot-long (89m) Houunmaru from its anchored position at sea, and smashed it into a bridge near Osaka.

As the typhoon lashed Shikoku and the Kii Peninsula, evacuation warnings and advisories were issued in many areas.

Japan's weather has been extreme in the past few months, with record breaking heat as well as the devastating floods and landslides, while Typhoon Cimarron passed over western Japan within the last two weeks.

Almost 800 flights were cancelled, along with scores of ferries and trains, NHK said.

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Bracing for Jebi, domestic airlines have played it safe, canceling a number of local and worldwide flights mainly scheduled to depart and arrive in airports in western and central Japan.

None of the ship's 11 crew members were injured in the incident, according to the local coast guard.

The Houunmaru tanker was pushed by strong winds into the bridge connecting Kansai Airport to the mainland near Osaka.

More than 1.6 million households remained without power in Osaka, Kyoto and four nearby prefectures late Tuesday, according to Kansai Electric Power Co.

The agency added that if Jebi maintains its current strength of 216km per hour (135 mph) it will the first "strong typhoon" to strike Japan since 1993. High-speed bullet train service was suspended between Osaka and Hiroshima cities. Jebi has been described as very strong.

Universal Studios Japan in Osaka shut down along with factories for several large manufacturers, including auto maker Toyota.

Primary and middle schools in affected areas are closed for safety reasons, while regional businesses also reacted quickly, with a major railway firm and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka shutting down for Tuesday.

Toyota Motor Corp. halted operations at most of its group plants, and Honda Motor Co. stopped its Suzuka plant in Mie prefecture. Jebi is predicted to bring heavy rains tomorrow.

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