A huge typhoon has slammed into Japan Wednesday, hitting Tokyo with heavy rains and bringing the city’s public transport system to a stand-still. Early reports indicate that at least four people have been killed as Typhoon Roke heads for the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Winds of up to 130 mph have hit Japan, and more than 16 inches of rain have fallen over the past 24 hours, the Japan Meteorological Agency has reported.
Almost 600,000 homes have experienced power outages and important industry companies in the country have been forced to close, including Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), Nissan Motor (7201.T) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T) to close some plants, according to Reuters.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura has reported, “We need to exercise maximum caution against heavy rains, strong winds and high waves in wide areas from eastern to northern Japan.”
Trees have been felled across the country, with footage showing a number lying across streets in Tokyo.
Many commentators have expressed concerns for the already-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant which is located northeast of Tokyo. However, latest reports indicate that no damage has been experienced by the plant so far.
Junichi Matsumoto, a Tokyo Electric official, told a news conference: “The biggest element of concern is the rise of (radioactive) water levels in turbine buildings.”
"We expect to be able to withstand (an overflow) even if water levels rise suddenly," Matsumoto added.
Earlier this month, another massive storm Typhoon Talas hit western Japan and left about 100 people dead or missing.