World News

Strong Typhoon Melor drenches central Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) - A strong typhoon barreled into Japan’s main island on Thursday, disrupting transport and prompting warnings of landslides and floods, although there were no reports of serious damage.

Typhoon Melor, carrying gusts of up to 198 km per hour (123 miles per hour), was about 200 km (124 miles) west of Tokyo at 7 a.m. (2200 GMT) and was headed north-northeast at 50 kph (30 mph), the Meteorological Agency said.

Toyota Motor Corp said it planned to suspend production at all of its factories in central Japan on Thursday because of the storm, but that it would make up for lost output in the near term.

A total of 315 flights had been canceled and more were likely to be affected, while some high speed “bullet” trains had been halted in western Japan and several expressways were closed, public broadcaster NHK said. Thousands of people evacuated their homes, the broadcaster said.

One man was killed when his motorbike hit a fallen tree, Kyodo news agency said, and NHK said about 18 people had been reported injured. Television news also showed houses damaged by landslides on the southern islands of Okinawa and Kyushu.

“All night we had a lot of wind and huge downpours, and some flooding was reported in some houses yesterday,” said Vishal Jani, a city official in Matsuzaka, Mie prefecture, south of the storm’s center. “We were getting reports of houses shaking and shingles falling off.”

But he said there were no reports of serious damage and that the skies had now cleared.

Reporting by Yoko Nishikawa, Linda Sieg and Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Chris Gallagher