Typhoon Trami to make landfall in western Japan; Kansai airport closes temporarily

A woman walks against the strong winds after Typhoon Trami hit the city of Kagoshima on Kyushu island | AFP

A powerful typhoon brings heavy rain and high winds as it approaches southern Japan, leading to flight cancellations and power outages in several cities.

Both airline groups cancelled all flights to and from Naha, Ishigaki and Miyako airports in Okinawa Prefecture.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) cancelled more than 400 flights to and from Okinawa Prefecture and Kagoshima as well as other areas of southern Japan, affecting over 38,000 passengers.

East Japan Railway Co. said it will suspend all train services on its lines in the Tokyo Metropolitan area after 8 p.m.

The worst impacts of Trami will be on Saturday night across the southern Ryukyu Islands as Trami is expected to pass between Miyako and Okinawa. Kansai International Airport - on an island in Osaka Bay was closing its runways until Monday morning.

All this comes on the heels of a country still reeling from one of the hottest summers on record, deadly rains that inundated central and western Japan, the strongest typhoon to hit the region in 25 years in Typhoon Jebi and a magnitude-6.6 quake on Hokkaido that killed 40.

At least 84 people suffered minor injuries, many hurt by windows shattered in the driving wind, and one woman in her 60s was reported missing amid fears she was swept into a gutter.

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Nationwide, authorities issued non-compulsory evacuation advisories to some 349,000 residents, while 300,000 households have lost power, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Trami was about 60 km (37.3 miles) north of the Okinawan city of Naha, with winds gusting as high as 216 kilometers an hour (134 mph).

"We are strongly urging our residents to stay indoors because it is extremely unsafe to be outside now", Masaaki Tamaki, an official of Kagoshima's disaster management section, told AFP.

Strong winds and downpours could trigger landslides and floods as well as lightning strikes and tornados across the nation, said the agency, warning that waves and wind could reach record levels.

Kansai International Airport in Osaka, western Japan, which was heavily flooded by a typhoon in early September, said it closed its runways overnight. The bullet train service between Kumamoto and central Kagoshima was also halted, according to the Kyushu Railway Co.

Typhoon Jebi caused widespread flooding at least seven deaths in early September.

Also in September, a magnitude 6.6 natural disaster rocked the northern island of Hokkaido, sparking landslides and leaving more than 40 people dead.