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Typhoon unleashes on southern Japan

Typhoon Haishen has drawn closer to Japan’s southern mainland, prompting authorities to recommend evacuation and warn of potentially record rainfall, unprecedented wind, high tides and large ocean swells.

Authorities urged early evacuation for more than 100,000 households in the southern prefectures of Okinawa, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, and Nagasaki, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA).

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with relevant cabinet ministers on Sunday afternoon to discuss the emergency response to the typhoon, his office said.

Elderly citizens wearing face masks due to the coronavirus outbreak were slowly gathering at evacuation centres in Kagoshima and other parts of southern Japan, footage on national broadcaster NHK showed.

The typhoon has cut power to more than 3000 homes in Okinawa, the southernmost island prefecture, and more than 8000 homes in Amamioshima, according to national broadcaster NHK.

Two injuries have been reported and authorities are advising the highest levels of caution for a typhoon.

“Areas where the typhoon passes are expected to see record high winds and waves,” a meteorological official told a news conference.

The typhoon is forecast to have sustained winds up to 234km/h by Monday, the meteorological agency said.

The typhoon’s centre was near Yakushima, an island about 100km south of Kagoshima city, on Sunday, moving northwest at 30km/h.

The typhoon was forecast to approach the Goto Islands west of Nagasaki about midnight and then move to the Korean peninsula on Monday.

Japan’s coastguard on Saturday suspended its search for crew missing from a cattle ship, including two Australians, that capsized in the East China Sea for a second day because of the typhoon.

Typhoon Haishen follows Typhoon Maysak, which smashed into the Korean peninsula on Thursday, leaving at least two dead and thousands temporarily without power.

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