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Typhoon disrupts Tokyo commute, grazes nuke plant



A powerful typhoon slammed into Japan's east Wednesday, leaving six people dead or missing in south-central regions and halting trains in Tokyo before grazing a crippled nuclear plant in the tsunami-ravaged northeast.

Officials at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, where engineers are still struggling with small radiation leaks due to tsunami damage, expressed relief that Typhoon Roke's driving winds and rains caused no immediate problems there other than a broken security camera.

"The worst seems to be over," said Takeo Iwamoto, spokesman for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., after the storm passed just west of the plant and then headed north.

More than 200,000 households in central Japan were without electricity late Wednesday. Police and local media reported that at least six people were dead or missing in southern and central regions, mostly from being swept away by rivers swollen with rains.

The storm, packing sustained winds of up to 100 mph, made landfall in the early afternoon near the city of Hamamatsu, about 125 miles west of Tokyo. The fast-moving storm went past the capital in the evening and then headed into the Tohoku region, which was devastated by the March 11 tsunami.

In Tokyo, where many rush hour commuter trains were suspended, thousands of commuters trying to rush home were stuck at stations across the sprawling city.

"The hotels in the vicinity are all booked up, so I'm waiting for the bullet train to restart," Hiromu Harada, a 60-year-old businessman, said dejectedly at Tokyo Station.

Fire department officials reported three people injured in Tokyo. In the trendy shopping district of Shibuya, winds knocked a tree onto a sidewalk, but no one was hurt. Pedestrians struggled to walk straight in powerful winds that made umbrellas useless.

Source: msnbc

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