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Flights, trains cancelled as typhoon batters northeast Japan
Julian Ryall, Tokyo, September 1, 2016

A POWERFUL typhoon has battered large parts of northeast Japan, with airlines forced to cancel more than 100 flights and operators of trains and ferries also halting services.


Typhoon Lionrock was so severe that Japanese authorities ordered the evacuation of around 410,000 people in areas deemed to be at risk of storm surges or landslides.



More than 35,000 homes lost power after the storm came ashore on the Pacific coast at around 18.00 on Tuesday evening. The typhoon had winds of up to 162kph and rainfall of 8cm per hour was recorded in some districts. Authorities said one month's worth of rain has fallen in just two days.


All of northern Japan and Hokkaido have been affected, with flights into Sapporo curtailed and bullet train operations in the region delayed or cancelled.


Travel firms in northern Japan have been affected, although operators said they had escaped largely unscathed.


"We started receiving cancellations on Monday, with 14 people cancelling and an additional 18 cancelling on Tuesday," said Shuichi Matsuda, president of the Capital Hotel 1000 in Rikuzentakata.


"But the hotel is in operation and the building has sustained no damage. During last year's typhoon, part of the hill facing the ocean was damaged so we rebuilt that earlier and will stay vigilant to make sure it is not damaged again," he said.


Aya Yokosawa, an official of Marugoto Rikuzentakata, which promotes tourism and study trips in the town, said the organisation had not received any cancellations, although a group of students visiting from Osaka had been moved to an emergency evacuation centre.


"We have been quite lucky because although it was one of the biggest typhoons we have seen in this region, it did not do much damage," she said.


The storm has crossed the country and moved out into the Sea of Japan, where it has been downgraded to a low pressure system.

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