Typhoon weakens as it moves across Japan

The second major typhoon in a month weakened as it made its way out of Japan after triggering landslides and floods that left at least 16 people dead or missing.

16 dead or missing after powerful storm triggers landslides, floods

The second major typhoon in a month weakened as it made its way out of Japan after triggering landslides and floods that left at least 16 people dead or missing.

There had been concerns that Typhoon Roke could pose more problems for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was sent into meltdown by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, but officials said the plant weathered the storm without major incident.

Hiroki Kawamata, spokesman for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., said several cameras set up to monitor the plant were damaged, but there had been no further leaks of radioactive water or material into the environment.

Police attempt to remove a tree toppled by strong wind due to Typhoon Roke at Ginza shopping district in Tokyo on Wednesday. ((Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press))

"We are seeing no problems so far," he said.

Police and local media reported 16 people dead or missing because of the storm, most swept away by rivers swollen with rains in the southern and central regions. One person died in a landslide in northern Iwate prefecture and two people were swept away in Sendai in the northeast.

The typhoon made landfall Wednesday afternoon near the city of Hamamatsu, about 200 kilometres west of Tokyo, and then cut a path to the northeast and through the capital before bringing new misery to the tsunami zone. It dumped up to 42 centimetres of rain in some areas, triggering landslides and flooding.

By midafternoon Thursday, the system had weakened to a tropical storm and had moved out to sea past Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, which was not hit as hard as the main island of Honshu the day before.

On Wednesday, hundreds of tsunami survivors in government shelters in the Miyagi state town of Onagawa were forced to evacuate for fear of flooding. The storm set off landslides in parts of Miyagi that already were hit by the March disasters. The local government requested the help of defence troops, and dozens of schools cancelled classes.

Train service suspended, flights cancelled

Strong winds snapped power lines in many areas, and officials said more than 200,000 households in central Japan were without electricity.

Passengers had to wait for the resumption of train service after it was halted by Typhoon Roke. ((Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters))

Overnight in Tokyo, where many rush hour trains were suspended for hours, thousands of commuters got stuck at stations across the sprawling city and stood in long lines for buses and cabs.

Fire department officials reported three people injured in Tokyo, but other than the inconvenience of transportation gridlock and winds that made it difficult to walk around the city, the storm passed through without incident.

Heavy rains prompted floods and caused road damage earlier in dozens of locations in Nagoya and several other cities, the Aichi prefectural government said. More than 200 domestic flights were cancelled.