Four people are killed and 17 missing after the most powerful typhoon and earthquake to hit Japan in 60 years paralyses Tokyo, flooding rivers and putting millions under evacuation warnings before plowing up the northeastern coast

  • Magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck in Japan ahead of the Typhoon Hagibis making landfall on Honshu island
  • Heavy downpours and strong winds pounded the capital as the typhoon hit the south coast today
  • Around 7.3 million people have been told to evacuate as two were killed and more than 30 were injured 
  • Japan Meteorological Agency said to ‘take all measures necessary to save lives’ and more rain is forecast
  • More than 180,000 people are without power and 20 inches of rain is forecast for Tokyo area in next 24 hours

Four people have been killed and 17 are still missing after the most powerful typhoon to hit Japan in decades paralysed Tokyo, flooding rivers and putting millions under evacuation warning before plowing up the northeastern coast.

Some seven million people were told to evacuate homes in Japan as Typhoon Hagibis, forecast to be the nation’s most powerful in six decades, made landfall on Honshu island.

Around 7.3 million people were placed under non-compulsory evacuation orders and more than 30 were injured after Typhoon Hagibis hit the south coast on Saturday.

Even before making landfall, Hagibis caused enormous disruption, forcing the cancellation of two Rugby World Cup matches, the Japanese Grand Prix and grounding all flights in the Tokyo region.

World Rugby has urged supporters not to travel unless it is ‘absolutely necessary’. Japan’s World Cup players were yesterday pictured wading through a flooded Tokyo stadium after they were forced to abandon their match with Scotland. 

It crashed into Japan’s main Honshu island at 7pm before barrelling into Izu, a peninsula southwest of Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. 

Four people have been killed and 17 are still missing after the most powerful typhoon to hit Japan in 60 years hit capital Tokyo and paralysed several suburbs with flood water. Some seven million people have been told to evacuate their homes

Houses are submerged after Typhoon Hagibis hit the area in Ashikaga, north of Tokyo, Japan. More than 180,000 people are without power and 20 inches of rain is forecast for Tokyo area in next 24 hours

Around 7.3 million people were placed under non-compulsory evacuation orders and more than 30 were injured after Typhoon Hagibis hit the south coast on Saturday

The storm claimed the first of two victims hours before arriving on the coast, when strong winds from its outer bands flipped a car in Chiba east of Tokyo and killed the driver

Surging waves generated by Typhoon Hagibis hit against a breakwater at a port in the town of Kiho on Saturday – as part of the storm which has left more than 180,000 people without power in the worst effected areas

Two people walk through cables which fell on the road in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, during the storm. The JMA has issued a statement about the importance to ‘take action that can help save your lives’ as auto plants to the country’s convenience stores, usually open 24 hours a day, shut their doors. One man was killed in Chiba, east of Tokyo, when his car overturned

The storm, which the government said could be the strongest to hit Tokyo since 1958, brought record-breaking rainfall in many areas, including the popular resort town of Hakone, which was hit with 939.5 mm (37 inches) of rain over 24 hours

‘Be ready for rainfall of the kind that you have never experienced,’ said meteorological agency official Yasushi Kajihara, adding that areas usually safe from disasters may prove vulnerable.

‘Take all measures necessary to save your life,’ he said.

The storm claimed the first of two victims hours before arriving on the coast, when strong winds from its outer bands flipped a car in Chiba east of Tokyo and killed the driver.

Four people died in Chiba, Gunma, Kanagawa and Fukushima prefectures surrounding Tokyo, public broadcaster NHK said. Among them was a man in his 60s who was found with no vital signs in a flooded apartment in Kawasaki.

In Gotemba, west of Tokyo, emergency services said they had rescued one man who fell into a swollen canal but was still searching for a second man. 

In Fukushima, Tokyo Electric Power Co reported irregular readings from sensors monitoring water in its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant overnight. The plant was crippled by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In parts of Fukushima and Nagano prefectures, heavy rain caused rivers to flood their banks, submerging houses and rice paddies and forcing some people to climb onto their roofs for safety.

A Shinkansen bullet train rail yard is seen flooded due to heavy rains caused by Typhoon Hagibis in Nagano, central Japan

A Japan Self-Defense Force helicopter hovers above submerged residential area after an embankment of the Chikuma River broke because of Typhoon Hagibis

Rubble covers the ground in Ichihara, China, after winds reached 90mph and harsh weather ripped through homes 

A damaged vehicle is upturned and a house was smashed after a tornado caused by Typhoon Hagibis hit Ichihara. The Meteorological Agency has issued its highest level of warning for rain for most of central and eastern Japan

Firefighters patrol on a flooded road due to heavy rains caused by Typhoon Hagibis at Ota ward in Tokyo. Another 20 inches is forecast for the Tokyo area in the next 25 hours, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency 

Japan’s national rugby union team players wade through floodwater at Chichibu Stadium in Tokyo

World Rugby has urged supporters not to travel unless it is ‘absolutely necessary’. Japan’s World Cup players were yesterday pictured wading through a flooded Tokyo stadium after they were forced to abandon their match with Scotland

Houses along the Chikuma river in Nagano were nearly under water and at least one person was rescued from the roof of a house by helicopter, NHK said. Part of a road was swept away in flooding.

Authorities issued evacuation advisories and orders for more than 6 million people across Japan as the storm unleashed the heaviest rain and winds in years. Some 100 injuries have been reported so far, while more than 270,000 households lost power, NHK said.

The storm, which the government said could be the strongest to hit Tokyo since 1958, brought record-breaking rainfall in many areas, including the popular resort town of Hakone, which was hit with 939.5 mm (37 inches) of rain over 24 hours.

Hagibis, which means “speed” in the Philippine language Tagalog, made landfall on Japan’s main island of Honshu on Saturday evening.

By early evening, tens of thousands were in shelters and receiving emergency rations and blankets, though a 5.7-magnitude quake that rattled the Tokyo area did little to calm nerves.

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake was centered in the ocean off the coast of Chiba, near Tokyo, and was fairly deep at 59.5 kilometers. 

Major shinkansen bullet trains from Tokyo would begin on schedule Sunday, NHK said, while the Tokyo subway system was also operating.

One expert, Nobuyuki Tsuchiya, director of the Japan Riverfront Research Center, had earlier told Reuters that further flooding could occur as several surrounding prefectures began releasing water from dams, letting it flow downstream.

Cars submerged in water in a residential area hit by the dramatic typhoon in Ise, central Japan. It has been called the worst Japan’s worst typhoon in the past six decades, leaving many locals stranded and dependent on shelters and emergency rations

Pedestrians were seen wading through flooded roads as the powerful storm took hold in Japan and around 7.3 million people have been told to evacuate

The skies above Japan turned pink and purple before typhoon Hagibi hit the country, causing mass devastation

Many rivers were close to breaching their banks by Saturday afternoon local time. A sign is pictured partially submerged as the Tama River floods during Typhoon Hagibis. Resident Hidetsugu Nishimura said they have ‘never seen anything like this’

About 1.5 million people in Tokyo live below sea level.

Before the heavy downpours and strong winds pounded Tokyo and the surrounding areas, residents captured pictures of the bright pink and purple sky.

The eerie phenomenon, which often precedes or follows a major storm, is the result of ‘scattering’.

This happens when molecules and small particles in the atmosphere influence the direction of light, causing the light to scatter.

Heavy storms wash away the larger particles which have absorbed more light and scattered wavelengths more evenly. This makes the colours of the sky appear more vivid. 

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued the highest alert level for 12 prefectures, warning of potential for once in decades rain totals. It lifted the alerts early Sunday.

Just last month, another strong storm, Typhoon Faxai, destroyed or damaged 30,000 houses in Chiba, east of Tokyo, and caused extensive power outages.

The capital’s main airports, Haneda and Narita, stopped flights from landing and connecting trains were suspended, forcing the cancellation of more than a thousand flights.

Many people in and around Tokyo took shelter in temporary evacuation facilities early, before the worst of the storm arrived.

Before the heavy downpours and strong winds pounded Tokyo and the surrounding areas, residents captured pictures of the bright pink and purple sky.

The eerie phenomenon, which often precedes or follows a major storm, is the result of ‘scattering’.

This happens when molecules and small particles in the atmosphere influence the direction of light, causing the light to scatter.

Heavy storms wash away the larger particles which have absorbed more light and scattered wavelengths more evenly. This makes the colours of the sky appear more vivid.

Yuka Ikemura, a 24-year-old nursery school teacher, was in one such facility at a community centre in eastern Tokyo with her 3-year-old son, 8-month-old daughter and their pet rabbit.

High waves hit Shirahama on Saturday as Japan’s worst in six decades makes landfall – and the storm has caused the delay of Japanese Grand Prix qualifiers scheduled for Saturday and cancellation of two Rugby World Cup matches

A view of an overflowing Sumida River on Saturday as Typhoon Hagibis approached Tokyo. It is believed that officials will make a decision about whether Scotland and Japan’s Rugby World Cup match will go through tomorrow only until the morning, as a result of the storm which has delayed Japanese Grand Prix qualifiers

An emergency vehicle drives through debris on a flooded road during the evacuation of guests at the Osen Sanso Nakamura hotel in Sengokuhara, in Nakone province

Cars pass by at Ginza shopping district in the pouring rain due to Typhoon Hagibis in Tokyo. It crashed into Japan’s main Honshu island at 7pm before barrelling into Izu, a peninsula southwest of Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said

A woman tries to catch a taxi in the pouring rain as Typhoon Hagibis hits Tokyo. The country is hit by around 20 typhoons a year, though the capital is not usually badly affected

The Japan Meteorological Agency warned of dangerously heavy rainfall in Tokyo and surrounding areas, including Gunma and Saitama. Most shockingly Kanagawa has seen 70mm of rain over 24 hours

‘Take all measures necessary to save your life,’ meteorological agency official Yasushi Kajihara said. Tokyo Disneyland was closed, while Ginza department stores (pictured) and smaller shops throughout Tokyo were shuttered

Shopkeepers taped up their windows in Hamamatsucho, Tokyo  to prevent them from shattering (pictured). And more broadly, Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines grounded most domestic and international flights at the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya airports

Hagibis was advancing northwestward with maximum sustained winds of 162 kilometers per hour on Saturday and a 5.7 earthquake hit the Kanto region around 6.22pm local time which did little to calm nerves

She said she decided to move before it was too late.

‘I’ve got small children to take care of and we live on the first floor of an old apartment,’ said Ikemura.

‘We brought with us the bare necessities. I’m scared to think about when we will have run out diapers and milk.’

The Rugby World Cup match between Namibia and Canada on Sunday in Kamaishi has been cancelled. Two other matches were cancelled on Saturday.

Scotland face elimination if their Sunday match is axed and have warned they could take legal action if the game is cancelled. World Rugby called the threat ‘disappointing’. 

Formula One Grand Prix organisers had cancelled all practice and qualifying sessions scheduled for Saturday. Tokyo Disneyland was closed, while Ginza department stores and smaller shops throughout Tokyo were shuttered.

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