Flood-battered west Japan braces for powerful typhoon

High waves triggered by Typhoon Cimaron crash against the coast of Aki, western Japan, August 23, 2018. (Reuters pic)

TOKYO: A powerful typhoon was expected to make landfall in west Japan on Thursday, raising the risk of more hardship for a region battered by deadly floods in July, and prompting authorities to issue evacuation advisories for more than 60,000 people.

The centre of Typhoon Cimaron was about 60 km (37 miles) south of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands, at 6 p.m. (0900 GMT) and heading north.

It was likely to cut across western Japan on Thursday evening, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Heavy rains and waves lashed the southeastern coast of Shikoku, according to a live stream on public broadcaster NHK’s web site.

Cities in neighbouring Osaka and Okayama prefectures issued evacuation advisories for around 85,000 residents, according to NHK.

As a precaution, a bullet train service was suspended between Osaka and Hiroshima, western Japan, NHK said.

“There will be heavy rain in areas that have yet to fully recover,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a meeting of the government’s disaster response headquarters.

“In order to prevent a secondary disaster, do not be afraid of false alarms and evacuate early and do everything you can (to protect yourself),” he added.

Shikoku would likely see as much as 800 mm (32 inches) of rain in the 24 hours to noon on Friday. Central Japan, including the industrial region of Nagoya, could see up to 600 mm of rain in the same period, the agency said.

At least three municipalities on Shikoku issued evacuation advisories for their 65,000 residents and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged residents to take precautionary measures early.

Japan has been hit by various extreme weather since the beginning of July with record-breaking heat and the devastating floods and landslides in the west that killed more than 200 people.

“When evacuation advisories are released, please realise that this applies to you personally and take immediate action to reach higher ground, evacuate to safety and take action to protect your life,” said Hidehiko Yuzaki, governor of Okayama prefecture, one of the areas hit hardest by last month’s floods.