A strong typhoon tore through Japan's southern Okinawa island chain, unleashing heavy rains and fierce winds that killed at least three people, injured dozens more, triggered landslides and disrupted transportation.
Typhoon Shanshan had weakened overnight, but still lashed the region with maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometres per hour. It was forecast to continue churning northeast and hit Japan's southwestern island of Kyushu as early as this evening, Japan's Meteorological Agency said.
Heavy rain warnings were issued for much of western Japan, but the storm killed three people before even making landfall.
A father and teenage daughter died on Saturday when their car was hit by a flash flood in Kyushu, Kyodo News agency and public broadcaster NHK said. Another man was swept away in high waters elsewhere, Kyodo said.
At least 40 people have been injured by the storm, which entered Japanese waters last morning after sweeping past Taiwan, Kyodo reported.
Yesterday, the typhoon grounded dozens of flights and disrupted ship traffic in Okinawa. Television footage showed snapped utility poles, blown-over vehicles and wind damage to buildings.
On Iriomote Island, near Taiwan, wind gusts of 250 kilometres per hour were recorded, the strongest winds ever observed there, Kyodo said.
Up to 250 millimetres of rain were expected to fall on Okinawa by this evening, Kyodo reported.