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Two killed as huge typhoon slams into western Japan

Jebi was reportedly the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 1993.

Typhoon: Two people were killed.
Typhoon: Two people were killed. AP

A powerful typhoon has slammed into western Japan, causing heavy rain to flood the region's main international airport and strong winds to blow a tanker into a bridge.

At least two people were killed as the storm disrupted land and air travel and left thousands stranded.

Jebi, reportedly the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 1993, headed north across the 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 Sakano/Kyodo News/AP

A man in his 70s died apparently after being blown to the ground from his apartment in Osaka prefecture, while a 71-year-old died when a storage unit collapsed on him, officials said.

NHK public television said 126 people were injured in the storm.

High seas poured into Kansai International Airport, built on artificial islands in Osaka Bay, flooding one of its two runways, cargo storage and other facilities, and forcing it to shut down, said the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Kansai International Airport was left under water
Kansai International Airport was left under water Kentaro Ikushima/Mainichi Newspaper/AP

A passenger was slightly injured by shards from a window shattered by the storm.

A 2,591-ton tanker that was mooring slammed into the side of a bridge connecting the airport to the mainland, damaging the bridge and making it unusable, leaving about 3,000 passengers stranded at the airport, the transport ministry said.

The tanker was also damaged, but its 11 crew members were not injured and remained on board, according to the coastguard.

The tanker slammed into the side of a bridge connecting the airport to the mainland
The tanker slammed into the side of a bridge connecting the airport to the mainland Kentaro Ikushima/Mainichi Newspaper/AP

More than 700 flights were cancelled, according to Japanese media tallies. High-speed bullet train services were suspended from Tokyo west to Hiroshima, although services resumed partially when the typhoon left the region.

The storm also cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes and caused schools, shops and factories to close in Osaka, Japan's second largest city and a business centre.

More than 1.6 million households remained without power in Osaka, Kyoto and four nearby prefectures late on Tuesday, according to Kansai Electric Power Co.

Daihatsu stopped production at its Kyoto and Osaka factories, while Panasonic halted work at its air conditioning and refrigerator factory in Shiga.

Major beverage maker Kirin suspended production at its brewery in Kobe, according to Kyodo News agency.

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

Overturned cars in Osaka
Overturned cars in Osaka Kota Endo/Kyodo News/AP

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

In nearby Nishinomiya, in Hyogo prefecture, about 100 cars at a seaside dealership were in flames after their electrical systems were shorted out by sea water, fire officials said.

The typhoon first made landfall on Japan's south-western island of Shikoku and then again near Kobe on Honshu. Television footage showed sea water overflowing on to low-lying areas.

Tokyo escaped relatively unscathed, with intermittent squalls.

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