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17 dead as typhoon batters eastern Japan

TOKYO — At least 17 people died and 46 were missing in eastern Japan as a powerful typhoon bringing torrential rains and strong winds lashed the region Wednesday, authorities said.

Sixteen residents died and 42 people remained unaccounted for after dozens of homes were destroyed by mudslides on Izu Oshima island, about 75 miles south of Tokyo, the National Police Agency said.

Record rainfall of nearly 5 inches per hour was registered on Izu Oshima earlier in the day and the rainfall in the 24 hours until Wednesday morning had exceeded 31 inches, more than double the average for October on the island, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

One woman was also killed in Machida city, western Tokyo, after she was swept away by a swollen stream, while four people were missing in prefectures neighboring Tokyo, police said.

Thirty-one people were injured in wide areas of the country, police said.

Typhoon Wipha, the 26th of the season, was downgraded to an extratropical cyclone after traveling northeast at a speed of 50 mph, hovering off the coast of northeastern Japan, the agency said.

The agency still warned of flooding, mudslides and high waves in eastern, northeastern and northern Japan.

As the fast-moving typhoon was pounding eastern and northeastern Japan on Wednesday, authorities urged tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

The storm disrupted transport in wide areas of eastern and northeastern Japan, including in the capital, as hundreds of domestic flights were cancelled and many train services were suspended.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it had released low-level radioactive water accumulated at a stricken nuclear power plant in Fukushima after the stormy weather brought heavy rain to the region.

The operator said the levels met standards set by the Nuclear Regulation Authority for radioactive wastewater at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station normally released into the sea, broadcaster NHK reported.

The operator has been battling leaks of radiation-contaminated water as it continues to inject water into three reactors that went into meltdowns after the plant was hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Rescue workers look for survivors as they stand on the rubble of a house buried by mudslides Wednesday after a powerful typhoon hit Izu Oshima island, about 75 miles south of Tokyo.

Associated Press

Rescue workers look for survivors as they stand on the rubble of a house buried by mudslides Wednesday after a powerful typhoon hit Izu Oshima island, about 75 miles south of Tokyo.

17 dead as typhoon batters eastern Japan 10/16/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 11:32pm]
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