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UPDATE4: Typhoon kills 17 people in eastern Japan, disrupts Tokyo transportation.

TOKYO, Oct. 16 Kyodo

(EDS: UPDATING, ADDING INFO)

A powerful typhoon brought heavy rains and strong winds to eastern Japan on Wednesday, killing 17 people, including 16 on an island south of Tokyo, and paralyzing the public transportation system in the Tokyo metropolitan area during morning rush hours.

Typhoon Wipha, which stayed offshore in the Pacific before scaling back into an extratropical cyclone at 3 p.m., caused mudslides on Izu Oshima Island, leaving 16 people dead and 42 others missing, according to local authorities and the Japan Meteorological Agency.

A woman in her 40s died after being swept away by a swollen river in Machida, western Tokyo.

In the town of Oshima on the island, about 120 kilometers south of Tokyo, mudslides destroyed about 30 homes as record rainfall of 122.5 millimeters per hour was registered.

As of 3 p.m., the cyclone was moving north-northeast at a speed of around 95 km per hour off Sanriku, northeastern Japan. It had an atmospheric pressure at its center of 968 hectopascals and was packing winds of up to 126 kph near its center.

As of 4 p.m., four people on the main Japanese island of Honshu were missing and a total of 31 people in the Tohoku, Chubu and Hokuriku regions had sustained serious or minor injuries, the National Police Agency said.

Earlier in the day, Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose asked the Ground Self-Defense Force to send personnel to the island on a disaster relief mission.

Similarly, the Metropolitan Police Department dispatched a special rescue unit to the island, while the Tokyo Fire Department's hyper rescue team was mobilized.

The season's 26th typhoon heavily disrupted railway and airline services, and forced the closure of sections of highway, inconveniencing commuters and travelers to and from Tokyo.

Bullet train services on the Tohoku, Yamagata, Joetsu, Nagano and Tokaido Shinkansen lines were canceled or temporarily suspended, while most railway operators in the Tokyo metropolitan area reduced or canceled their services, according to the operators.

Flight services mainly to and from Haneda airport in Tokyo were disrupted, with 195 domestic flights operated by Japan Airlines Co., and 211 domestic and international flights operated by All Nippon Airways Co. scrapped.

At Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, a total of 57 international and domestic flights -- 21 inbound and 36 outbound flights -- mostly those operated by overseas airlines, were canceled.

As the typhoon neared Tokyo in the morning, the Japan Meteorological Agency called for the public to exercise vigilance in the face of strong winds, high waves and flooding across a wide swath of the storm's path.

The government set up a liaison office at the prime minister's office to gather typhoon-related information.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Oct 21, 2013
Words:452
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