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Typhoon leaves 5 dead after lashing Japan on Election Day

A powerful typhoon left five dead, one missing and scores injured in Japan on Monday, moving northward off the Pacific coast after millions struggled to the polls for a national election.

Authorities advised thousands living in coastal areas or near rivers to evacuate to shelters before Typhoon Lan, described as “very large and very strong”, hit Tokyo and surrounding regions early on Monday morning.

The typhoon had left the Japanese archipelago by about 9:00 am after making landfall in Shizuoka southwest of Tokyo six hours before, the weather agency said.

The storm, which had already dumped torrential rain over much of the country during the weekend, packed gusts up to 162 kilometres per hour, the meteorological agency said.

Train operators suspended some commuter trains in Tokyo suburbs early today and cancelled some “Shinkansen” bullet trains in northern Japan after a blackout left passengers stranded overnight in the country’s central region.

Nearly 300 flights scheduled for Monday have already been cancelled, public broadcaster NHK said, after strong winds forced 500 flights to be grounded on Sunday.

Some ferry services in western Japan were also cancelled as the weather agency warned of high waves, landslides and floods across the archipelago.

The typhoon claimed its first victims Sunday as a male passer-by died when scaffolding collapsed on him at a construction site in Fukuoka in western Japan.

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