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Flights cancelled as typhoon nears Japan

20:24 Sat Oct 5 2013
AAP

Powerful Typhoon Fitow is expected to hit Japan's southern island chain of Okinawa, with flights cancelled and power outages affecting some 200 households, officials say.

Japan, Taiwan and China were all bracing for the storm on Saturday, with Japan's meteorological agency warning of strong winds and heavy rain, as well as the risk of tornados, just two weeks after Typhoon Usagi wreaked havoc in the region.

At 1pm (1000 AEST), Fitow was about 200 kilometres south-southwest of Naha, the capital of Okinawa, and moving slowly northwest, the agency said.

Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and its low-cost carrier Peach Aviation said that their flights to and from Naha had been cancelled because the typhoon.

Hong Kong's Dragonair also said its Okinawa flights had been cancelled.

About 200 households lost electricity due to the storm, the Okinawa Electric Power Company said, adding that strong winds and heavy rain were hampering efforts to restore power.

The typhoon, named after a flower from Micronesia, was heading towards Taiwan, which said the storm would likely pass to the north of the island on Sunday.

The Central Weather Bureau in Taiwan said the typhoon had gathered momentum and was packing gusts of 137 km/h.

China has also issued a warning over the typhoon, which is set to hit the country's southeast coastline late on Sunday.

Typhoon Usagi left 25 dead last month when it crashed into southern China, throwing the region's transport systems into chaos and leaving tens of thousands of airline passengers stranded in Hong Kong.

In 2007, a strong typhoon also called Fitow slammed into the Tokyo region, bringing territorial downpours and violent winds that left one person dead, more than 40 injured and flooded hundreds of homes.