High winds and heavy rain has whipped the Japanese cities of Kobe and Osaka and surrounding areas, as a powerful typhoon made landfall, disrupting train services and air travel.
- Typhoon Jebi was packing sustained winds of 160 kilometres per hour
- A 2,591-tonne tanker crashed into a bridge connecting an airport to the mainland
- It was reportedly the strongest typhoon to hit Japan since 1993
Typhoon Jebi was heading north across a swath of Japan’s main island of Honshu towards the Sea of Japan.
The storm had sustained winds of 160 kilometres per hour with gusts to 215 kilometres per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The strong winds sent a 2,591-tonne tanker crashing into a bridge connecting Kansai Airport — built on a man-made island in a bay — to the mainland.
The bridge was damaged but the tanker was empty and none of its crew was injured, the coast guard said.
Japan’s Kyodo News service said it was the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 1993.
In Osaka, the Universal Studios Japan theme park and US Consulate were both closed.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also cancelled a scheduled trip to Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost main island, to oversee the Government’s response to the typhoon, Kyodo said.
The typhoon first made landfall on the island of Shikoku and then again near Kobe on Honshu.
Television footage showed fallen tree branches and high seas overflowing onto low-lying areas.
Evacuation advisories were issued for more than 1 million people, and more than 700 flights were cancelled according to Japanese media tallies. High-speed bullet train services were suspended from Tokyo west to Hiroshima.
Tokyo escaped relatively unscathed, with some intermittent squalls.
Jebi — whose name means “swallow” in Korean — was briefly a super typhoon and is the latest harsh weather to hit Japan this summer following rains, landslides, floods and record-breaking heat that killed hundreds of people.