A powerful typhoon approached Japan's main islands on Wednesday, threatening the heavily populated country's industrial centres with torrential rain and strong winds.
Typhoon Melor may be the most powerful storm to hit Japan's main islands in more than 10 years if it makes landfall, the Meteorological Agency said.
Television showed waves pounding the shores of Japan's small southern islands as the typhoon moved north-northeast towards the the main island of Honshu.
The eye of the storm was 250 km (155 miles) south of Tanegashima, 1000 km southwest of Tokyo and home to Japan's rocket launch pad, at 10:00 JST (0000 GMT), according to the Meteorological Agency. It could make landfall in central Japan west of Tokyo on Thursday.
Up to 400 mm of rain is forecast over the next 24 hours in the Tokai region, which includes the industrial centre of Nagoya, the agency said, also warning of high winds, gales and flooding across southern Japan.
Melor, which had earlier been classed as a Category 5 Super Typhoon, is now a Category 1, according to storm tracking website Tropical Storm Risk. A Category 1 storm can bring winds of up to 153 km an hour.
Television news warned of similarities to a deadly 2004 typhoon at the same time of year that killed 95 people, brought transport to a halt and disrupted production.
An official at Tokyo's city government offices said no additional measures were being taken to deal with the typhoon.
An average of about three such storms hit Japan each year, although there were none last year.
Last Mod: 07 Ekim 2009, 15:42