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High Alert: Japan Hunkers Down as Typhoon Neoguri Closes In

TOKYO — Hundreds of flights were cancelled in Japan and more than 500,000 people urged to evacuate as a powerful typhoon brought torrential rain and high winds to southwestern islands and was forecast to reach Tokyo later in the week.

Typhoon Neoguri weakened from its original status as a super typhoon but remained intense, with gusts of more than 250 km per hour (155 mph). It was powering towards the Okinawa island chain where emergency rain and high-seas warnings were in effect.

The storm will be at its most powerful as it passes Okinawa, some 1,600 km (1,000 miles) southwest of Tokyo on Tuesday, but the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) warned of heavy rains and potential flooding in Kyushu, the westernmost of Japan's main islands, as well as heavy rain in the rest of the nation as the storm turns east.

One man was missing after his boat was swamped by high waves, NHK national television said. Several people suffered minor injuries from falls. More than 50,000 households in Okinawa lost power and an oil refinery halted operations. Television footage showed street lights rocking in high winds and branches being blown down largely deserted streets.

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— Reuters