TOKYO – A powerful typhoon made landfall in central Japan this morning after washing three American airmen in Okinawa out to sea the previous day, killing at least one.
Elsewhere in the Pacific, a separate typhoon whipped the Mariana Islands, including Guam, with high winds and heavy rain.
In Japan, bullet train service was suspended between Tokyo and Osaka because of heavy rain, and more than 600 flights were canceled at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
Typhoon Phanfone came ashore near the city of Hamamatsu shortly after 8 a.m. Authorities issued evacuation advisories for more than 400,000 people in the storm’s path.
One of the three airmen was found dead. The other two were missing, according to the Air Force and the Japanese coast guard.
They had been on Okinawa island’s northern coast when they were overcome by the waves, according to Tsuguyoshi Miyagi of the coast guard’s Okinawa branch.
The Air Force said the search for the missing airmen had been interrupted by rough seas. Their names were being withheld pending notification of relatives.
Okinawa is home to about half of the roughly 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan.
Several people on Kyushu island were injured in the typhoon. The storm also grounded more than 100 flights Sunday and knocked out power to more than 9,500 Kyushu homes.
The storm triggered concern about possible landslides on the ash-covered volcano in central Japan that erupted Sept. 27 and killed at least 51 hikers. The search for a dozen people missing in the eruption was suspended Sunday because of rain from the approaching storm.
The meteorological agency predicted that up to 16 inches of rain could fall in central Japan by this morning.
In the Marianas, the eye of the typhoon skirted the small island of Rota. Power outages and minor flooding were reported in some areas this morning as damage reports were starting to arrive.
Rota has about 2,500 residents and many buildings made of concrete.
The weather service canceled a flash-flood watch for the islands around 8:30 a.m. today, as the storm shifted farther west.