Typhoon Haishen: Japan braced for potential record-breaking storm

  • Video report by ITV News Journalist Marc Mallett

Japan is bracing itself for a potential record-breaking storm as Typhoon Haishen barreled towards the Okinawa islands.

The second typhoon in a week hit southern Japan on Saturday, prompting warnings about torrential rainfall and fierce wind gusts. Weather officials have cautioned about Typhoon Haishen for several days, urging people to brace for what could be a record storm and to be ready to take shelter and stock up on food and water. The Japan Meteorological Agency said Haishen, packing sustained winds of up to 180 kilometres (112 miles) per hour early on Saturday, was on course to hit Okinawa by Sunday, and later the main southern island of Kyushu.

Satellite pictures showed Typhoon Haishen barreling toward the Okinawa islands in southern Japan on Saturday. Credit: AP

But the pouring rain, high tides and winds will hit before the typhoon, the agency said. Okinawa is home to more than half of the roughly 50,000 U.S. troops based in Japan under a bilateral treaty. Haishen, or “sea god” in Chinese, was moving northward at 15 kph (9 mph) from out at sea, south of Minami Daito, an island to the south of Japan. The projected course has Haishen hitting the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday. Meteorological agency official Yoshihisa Nakamoto said he was concerned about people staying home instead of fleeing because of fears about the coronavirus. “You should not avoid getting out because of such fears,” he told reporters, stressing that local communities will have social distancing measures in place at evacuation locales.

A crew member of a cargo ship is rescued by Japanese Coast Guard members off the Amami Oshima, Japan. Credit: AP

Earlier in the week, Typhoon Maysak battered southern Japan, injuring dozens of people and cutting power to thousands of homes. A cargo ship carrying 43 crew members and 5,800 cows from New Zealand capsized off the coast of Japan. Two people, both Filipino, were rescued Friday and one body was recovered. Rescuers also spotted dozens of cow carcasses floating in the area. The search has been temporarily halted because of Typhoon Haishen, according to the Philippine government. The two rescued Filipinos have spoken with their families, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.