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Typhoon slams into western Japan, flooding airport

Jebi is believed to be the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 1993.

High waves hit breakwaters in Aki.
High waves hit breakwaters in Aki. AP

A powerful typhoon has blown through western Japan, causing heavy rain to flood the region's main offshore international airport and high winds to blow a tanker into a bridge, disrupting land and air travel.

Jebi was the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 1993, according to Japan's Kyodo News service.

The storm was heading north across Japan's main island of Honshu towards the Sea of Japan.

It was off the northern coast of Fukui on Tuesday evening with sustained winds of 78mph and gusts up to 110mph, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

High waves hit breakwaters at the port of Aki
High waves hit breakwaters at the port of Aki Ichiro Banno/Kyodo News/AP

In the hard-hit city of Osaka, high seas poured into Kansai International Airport, flooding one of its two runways and cargo storage and other facilities, forcing the airport to shut down, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

A 2,591-ton tanker that was mooring slammed into the side of a bridge connecting the airport to the mainland, damaging part of the bridge and the vessel.

The tanker's 11 crew members were not injured and remained on board, according to a regional branch of Japan's coastguard.

Elsewhere in Osaka, the Universal Studios Japan theme park and US Consulate were both closed.

Cancelled flights at Osaka airport
Cancelled flights at Osaka airport Takumi Sato/Kyodo News/AP

Prime minister Shinzo Abe cancelled a scheduled trip to Kyushu, Japan's southernmost main island, to oversee the government's response to the typhoon, said chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga.

The typhoon first made landfall on Japan's southwestern island of Shikoku and then again near Kobe on Honshu. Television footage showed fallen tree branches and high seas overflowing on to low-lying areas.

More than 700 flights have been cancelled, according to Japanese media tallies. High-speed bullet train services were suspended from Tokyo west to Hiroshima.

The capital escaped relatively unscathed, with some intermittent squalls.

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