Japanese authorities have advised more than 300,000 people to evacuate their homes and airlines have cancelled hundreds of scheduled flights as a tropical storm bears down on the archipelago, public broadcaster NHK says.
Tropical storm Krosa, packing maximum winds of 108km/h, was heading north toward southwestern Japan by 8pm on Wednesday, and is expected to make landfall on Thursday morning, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Evacuation advisories were issued for 310,000 residents, and about 350 flights scheduled for Thursday had been cancelled, NHK said.
“Let me ask the people to prepare well, stay alert and take lifesaving action, such as evacuating early,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a cabinet meeting.
During the 24 hours until 6pm on Thursday, the weather agency expects up to one metre of rain in Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four major islands.
More than 200 people died in torrential rains and flooding in parts of western Japan last year.