World

Tokyo braces for severe typhoon

By AAP Newswire

A powerful typhoon is approaching Japan, threatening to batter its capital with the heaviest rain and winds in 60 years.

Typhoon Hagibis has shut down stores, factories and subway systems and disrupted a Formula One Grand Prix and rugby's World Cup.

Hagibis, which means "speed" in the Philippine language Tagalog, is due to make landfall on Japan's main island of Honshu on Saturday.

It's only been a month since one of the strongest typhoons to hit the country in recent years destroyed or damaged 30,000 houses and caused extensive power outages.

The storm could be the strongest to hit Tokyo since 1958 and people should also prepare for high waves and storm surges, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

"The typhoon could bring record-level rainfall and winds," an official at the agency told a news conference, also citing the risk of floods and landslides.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered his cabinet ministers to do their utmost to ensure the public's safety.

Authorities began issuing evacuation advisories to areas particularly at risk, including the coastal city of Shimoda in Shizuoka, around 100km southwest of Tokyo, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Officials in Chiba prefecture east of Tokyo, which was hit hard by typhoon Faxai a month ago, have told people to prepare supplies of food and water for up to three days.

Some supermarkets ran out of bottled water and batteries.

Many of more than 30,000 houses Typhoon Faxai destroyed or damaged in Chiba last month have yet to be repaired.

Japanese Formula One Grand Prix organisers cancelled all practice and qualifying sessions scheduled for Saturday, adding that the qualifying round would be held on Sunday, before the final race takes place as planned.

The approaching super typhoon has already forced the cancellation of two matches of the rugby World Cup on Saturday, while a Sunday match between host Japan and Scotland is in doubt.

Airline ANA Holdings cancelled all domestic flights to and from Tokyo's two main airports from Friday afternoon.

Train operators said they would suspend bullet trains between Tokyo and Nagoya in central Japan and most operations between Nagoya and Osaka, in western Japan, from Saturday morning.