Devastation as typhoon Jebi's toll rises

Tokyo: At least 11 people have been killed and about 600 injured as Typhoon Jebi ripped through Japan, the most powerful storm to hit the country in 25 years.

The deaths included a man in his 70s who was blown to the ground from his apartment in Osaka prefecture. Police said five others died elsewhere in the prefecture after being hit by flying objects or falling from their apartments.

In nearby Shiga prefecture, a 71-year-old man died when a storage building collapsed on him, and a man in his 70s died after falling from a roof in Mie, officials said.

Overturned cars are seen on street following powerful typhoon Jebi in Osaka, western Japan.

Photo: Kyodo/AP

More than 400,000 households in western and central Japan were without power on Wednesday, a day after Jebi struck with sustained winds of 160 kilometres per hour at landfall.

A tanker that became unmoored by the typhoon's pounding waves and wind slammed into a bridge linking offshore Kansai International Airport to the mainland, damaging the bridge and the ship and stranded 3000 passengers overnight at the airport.

Its 11 crew members were not injured.

Authorities began taking some of those stranded to nearby Kobe Airport by ferry early Wednesday, while others were taken to the mainland by bus.

The damaged bridge connecting Kansai International Airport in Osaka a day after typhoon Jebi caused a tanker to slam into its side.

Photo: Kyodo/AP

The airport is built on two artificial islands in Osaka Bay, and the high seas flooded one of the runways, cargo storage and other facilities, said the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. One passenger was slightly injured by shards from a window shattered by the storm.

Airport officials could not say when the airport would resume operations. Flooding has largely subsided, but assessments were still being done on possible damage to equipment key to flight operations and repairs of the damaged bridge.

The airport is a gateway for Asian tourists visiting Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. A closure of the only international airport serving one of Japan's key business and commercial areas has triggered concerns about its impact on Japan's tourism and economy.

Kansai International Airport is partly inundated following a powerful typhoon in Osaka, western Japan.

Photo: AP

Factories in the region, including automaker Daihatsu Motor and electronics giant Panasonic, as well as major beverage maker Kiri, suspended production at most of its factories in Osaka and nearby prefectures on Tuesday, though most of them were expected to resume operation Wednesday, Kyodo News agency reported.

The Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka closed for a second day Wednesday but said in a news release it would reopen Thursday.

'There was a lounge blowing up the street'

Australian woman Meg O'Neill, who was in Osaka when Jebi struck on Tuesday, said she was stranded inside her accommodation for nine hours due to the storm, which hit the region about lunch time on Tuesday.

"All train lines had stopped at 10am in the morning," she said. "All the shops closed down."

Ms O'Neill said she heard about the incoming storm from other Australian tourists, and had to stock up on food before it hit.

Before the storm: Meg O'Neill in Shibuya several days before the typhoon hit where she was staying in Osaka.

Photo: Supplied

"We were told not to leave the accommodation – 'do not go outside'," she said.

"We had no water or power for six hours.

"There was a lounge blowing up the street at one point. It was very scary at the time."

Ms O'Neill said the typhoon was "really, really bad" for about 45 minutes in which time she and other travellers from Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands played cards to pass the time.

"It came quicker than I expected," she said.

"It just sounded like really heavy wind and we sat in the hostel with the Japanese owners who fed us frozen edamame because there was nothing to cook.

"They worked very hard to accommodate for us and were very worried."

Ms O'Neill had planned to move onto Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima but the weather halted her travel plans.

She was able to leave the accommodation at 7pm that night when she saw the damage including tin roofing strewn through the streets and bikes "scattered everywhere".

Ms O'Neill left Osaka on Wednesday, when she travelled north to Kyoto to continue her trip.

A wall of Minami Noh Butai of Nishi Honganji temple, a world heritage site, is damaged by Jebi.

Photo: Kyodo/AP

The season's 21st typhoon was downgraded to an extra-tropical cyclone over the Tatar Strait near Russia around 9am, the Meteorological Agency said, after dumping torrential rains on the northern island of Hokkaido overnight, toppling trees and utility poles.

Jebi made landfall around the southern part of Tokushima prefecture shortly Tuesday after noon, according to the agency.

It was the latest in a series of weather-related disasters to hit the country in recent months.

In early July, torrential rains pummelled western Japan, triggering landslides and floods that left 226 people dead and 10 missing. It was the country's deadliest weather-related disaster in more than three decades.

DPA, AP and Newcastle Herald

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