TOKYO: A powerful typhoon was churning towards Japan on Wednesday, prompting the nation's weather agency to warn of heavy rain and violent winds and airlines to cancel dozens of flights.
Typhoon Shanshan was expected to make landfall about 100 kilometres northeast of Tokyo by early Thursday, sparking fears that the busy morning commute in the capital could be disrupted. The storm is packing maximum gusts of 180 kilometres per hour (112 mph) and was around 500 kilometres southeast of Tokyo early Wednesday.
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With rain and winds expected to intensify on Wednesday, television networks urged Tokyo workers to go home early. The storm could dump as much as 300 millimetres of rain over the greater Tokyo region by early Thursday. Airlines have cancelled dozens of domestic and international flights to and from Tokyo's main Narita Airport east of the capital. The ANA group has scrapped 36 domestic flights as well as international flights from Narita to Shanghai and Hong Kong, and Air New Zealand cancelled a round trip between Auckland and Narita.
The typhoon is the latest weather front to batter Japan, which has been sweating through a record heatwave that followed devastating rainfall in central and western parts of the country in July. The record rains caused flooding and landslides that killed over 200 people and devastated large swathes of the country.