Most powerful typhoon in 25 years strikes Japan

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Typhoon Jebi, the most powerful typhoon to make landfall in Japan in 25 years, struck western Japan on Tuesday afternoon, making landfall in the southern part of Tokushima Prefecture, the weather agency here said Tuesday.

The powerful typhoon has heavily disrupted transportation services, causing flights and rail services to be canceled, as well as some commercial facilities' operations.

Typhoon Jebi was packing winds of up to 216 kilometers per hour with an atmospheric pressure of 950 hectopascals at its center as of 11 a.m. (local time), the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

The agency on Tuesday has warned of torrential rain and powerful gusts of wind across both eastern and western Japan and has urged the public to be vigilant for high waves, potential floods and landslides.

The agency said the typhoon is likely to pass over the Sea of Japan and move on a northward trajectory.

By Wednesday it should be downgraded to an extra-tropical cyclone, the JMA said.

At an emergency press briefing on Monday, an official from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) was quoted as saying that the typhoon has been categorized as "very strong" by the agency and based on the strength of its top winds, it would be the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 1993.

More than 600 local and international flights have been canceled by domestic airlines, and among Japan's top two carriers, All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co. have canceled 289 and 180 flights each.

The Tokaido Shinkansen and Sanyo Shinkansen bullet train lines have been suspended by railway operators and parts of major highways have also been closed, the transport ministry said.

Some stores in Osaka and Kyoto prefectures as well as in other parts of western Japan have shut down operations for the day, as did the Universal Studios theme park in Osaka.

According to the JMA, up to 500 millimeters of rain is forecast to fall in central Japan and up to 400 mm in western Japan in the 24-hour period through 6 a.m. (local time) on Wednesday.

Tokyo, Japan's Capital, is unlikely to be badly affected by Typhoon Jebi, the JMA said.

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