9 dead, 14 missing, over 90 injured after typhoon rips through Japan

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TOKYO: At least nine people have died, and another 14 are missing as a massive typhoon lashed Japan, including the Tokyo metropolitan area on Saturday, with many rivers overflowing into residential areas across a wide area of the country.

More than 90 people were injured across the country, according to a Kyodo News tally based on information provided by rescuers and other authorities.

Rescue operations were under way in central, eastern and northeastern regions that were hit by floods and landslides.

The central Japan city of Nagano was one of the hardest-hit areas as the bank of the Chikuma River collapsed, causing massive flooding in residential areas, with the land ministry estimating that some of those areas may see floodwaters of up to 5 meters deep.

Over 6 million people across Japan’s main island of Honshu were advised to evacuate, with train operators suspending most services and airports shut down in the metropolitan and surrounding areas between Saturday afternoon and early Sunday.

While evacuation advisories had been lifted by early Sunday in Tokyo and most of central and eastern Japan, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said at least 33 landslides and mudflows have been reported in nine prefectures.

Tokyo’s Haneda airport and most shinkansen bullet train services resumed operations from Sunday morning following large-scale suspensions the previous day. Many flights to and from Haneda for Sunday have already been canceled, while operations of Tokyo’s subways were initially suspended in the early morning hours for safety checks.

The Japan Meteorological Agency had issued the highest warning on its one-to-five scale for Tokyo and the prefectures of Gunma, Saitama, Kanagawa, Yamanashi, Nagano, Shizuoka, Niigata, Fukushima, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Miyagi and Iwate.

Some dam operators have authorized water releases as an emergency measure to avoid possible dam bursting, a move that could raise the amount of water further downstream where rivers are already overflowing.

A tornado hit parts of Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, destroying 12 houses and damaging more than 70 others.

Local officials said a man in his 50s was found dead in an overturned car, as the tornado likely caused his vehicle to roll over.

In Tomioka, Gunma Prefecture, a man died after houses were swept away by a landslide, police said. In Kawasaki, southwest of Tokyo, a man in his 60s was found in an inundated apartment and confirmed dead at a hospital.

In Tochigi, a woman who fell into a waterway was found and confirmed dead, while a woman in Sagamihara near Tokyo died after a landslide swept her house away.

In Chiba, which was hit by widespread power outages in September due to another strong typhoon, over 100,000 houses were without power as of 10 a.m., according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. More than 100,000 other homes elsewhere in its service area were affected by power outages.

Tohoku Electric Power Co, serving northeastern Japan, said over 28,000 homes were without electricity.

As of 9 a.m. Sunday, Typhoon Hagibis, meaning “swift” in the Philippine language Tagalog, was traveling off Japan’s northeastern coast and moving away from the Japanese archipelago after sweeping through the Tokyo metropolitan area and parts of northeastern Japan.

It is expected to weaken to an extratropical cyclone by Sunday afternoon.