TOKYO, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Typhoon Nanmadol brought ferocious winds and record rainfall to western Japan on Monday as one of the biggest storms to hit the country in years killed at least two people, disrupted transport and forced manufacturers to suspend operations.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delayed his departure to New York, where he is due to deliver a speech at the U.N. General Assembly.
“I postponed my scheduled departure from today to take stock of the damage caused by the typhoon and to take all possible measures for recovery,” Kishida told reporters on Monday evening. “Circumstances permitting, I will leave tomorrow morning.”
Japan’s 14th typhoon of the season made landfall near Kagoshima city late on Sunday before battering the western island of Kyushu and roaring onto the main island of Honshu on Monday morning.
A river in Kyushu’s Miyazaki prefecture overflowed, flooding fields and roads, footage from state broadcaster NHK showed. Other video showed a riverside house half hanging over a torrent, the tin roof ripped off a gas station, and a toppled billboard leaning over a street from the top of a building.
“We need to remain highly vigilant for heavy rains, gales, high waves and storm surges,” a Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) official told a news conference.
NHK said one man was found dead inside his car, which was submerged to the rooftop in the middle of a field, while another man died after being caught in a landslide.
One other person remains missing, and at least 87 people have been injured, NHK said.
About 340,000 households, most of them in Kyushu, were without electricity early on Monday, the trade ministry said, while Kyushu Railway Co 9142.T said it had halted operations on Kyushu and Japan Airline Co Ltd 9201.T and ANA Holdings 9202.T cancelled about 800 flights, public broadcaster NHK reported.
The storm made landfall again in Shimane prefecture in western Honshu after tracking the coastline earlier on Monday, and was heading east at about 35 km per hour (22 miles per hour), the JMA said.
The storm will veer into the Japan Sea for a second time and track the coast to the north of Honshu into Tuesday before crossing overland and moving northeast out into the Pacific, the agency projected.
Up to 400 mm (15.75 inches) of rain was expected in central Japan’s Tokai region, the nation’s industrial heartland, over the next 24 hours, it said.
Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T was among manufacturers that said they would idle production at some factories due to the storm, but there were no reports of major damage to industry.
Intermittent bouts of heavy rain lashed Tokyo but businesses in the capital were largely operating as normal.
Most schools were closed on Monday anyway for a public holiday.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Kevin Buckland; Additional reporting by Kentaro Sugiyama, Sam Nussey, Maki Shiraki and Ritsuko Shimizu; Editing by Robert Birsel, Christian Schmollinger and Ed Osmond)