TOKYO A powerful typhoon pounded the southern
Japanese islands of Okinawa on Friday, forcing the evacuation
of thousands and the cancellation of hundreds of flights as it
headed north towards the main islands.
Up to 500 mm (20 inches) of rain was expected to fall on
the southernmost main island of Kyushu by Saturday, further
battering areas already hit by heavy rains and flooding earlier
this week. More than 8,000 people were advised to evacuate.
Some 100,000 people were left without electricity as
Typhoon Man-yi bore down on the tropical Okinawa island chain
some 1,600 km (1,000 miles) southwest of Tokyo. Twenty-three
people were hurt.
NHK public television said more than 300 flights to and
from Okinawa were cancelled.
China's Xinhua news agency reported a Chinese vessel sank
on Tuesday some 600 km (360 miles) northwest of Guam as a
result of the typhoon, leaving three crew members dead and
seven others missing.
Twelve people have been rescued from the Hai Tong 7, Xinhua
reported, quoting officials at the Chinese consulate in Los
The Chinese-flagged bulk log carrier, owned by Fuzhou
Haijing Shipping, was en route from Papua New Guinea to China
when the cargo began shifting as the vessel encountered strong
winds and 7 meter seas, the survivors were quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, a small Chinese container ship, which broke down
in the typhoon's path northeast of the coastal city of Wenzhou,
has been rescued and is being towed to shore, Xinhua said,
citing the Ministry of Communications.
Man-yi passed near the Okinawa city of Naha and was around
130 km (80 miles) northwest of Okinoerabu island as of 7:50
p.m. (1050 GMT), moving north at 25 kph (15 mph), Japan's
Meteorological Agency said.
It had winds at its centre of around 160 kph (100 mph) and
gusts of up to 234 kph (145 mph), slightly weaker than before.
"This storm is moving slowly, which means that rain will
fall for quite some time, especially in places like Kyushu," an
agency official said.
"Rain is the biggest worry with this storm. Given the rain
that has already fallen in Kyushu, the chance of damage is
The chances that the storm will make landfall somewhere in
Kyushu on Saturday have risen sharply, another official said.
The storm was classified as a category 4 typhoon by
British-based Web site Tropical Storm Risk
It is currently likely to turn eastward, after which it
will pick up speed and rapidly weaken. It could brush Tokyo on
Monday, a national holiday.
(Additional reporting by Nick Macfie in Beijing)