Powerful Typhoon Pummels Japan's Okinawa Islands

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A strong typhoon struck Japan's Okinawa islands Tuesday, causing at least one death, widespread blackouts, and flight cancellations. 

Packing 120 miles per hour winds, gusts up to 148 mph, and waves up to 46 feet high, Typhoon Neoguri is one of the strongest to hit Japan in decades, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. The country's national broadcaster NHK reported a 62-year-old fisherman was found dead after being swept off his boat, as well as more than a dozen injuries.

Still, Japan's main spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters during a news conference Tuesday evening the government has not been made aware of any major damage. "We have not received any information concerning great damage or injury," he said. "We will continue to maintain close coordination between ministries and will take all necessary measures to respond to the typhoon."

Though government officials urged the islands' nearly 600,000 residents to evacuate, many remained, with the Okinawa Electric Power Company reporting more than 100,000 households in the prefecture experiencing blackouts. 

All domestic flights to and from the area have been canceled and all ferry activity stopped. Kadena Air Base, one of the largest U.S. military facilities stationed at Okinawa, halted outdoor activity, while nuclear plants in Kyushu, an area through which the typhoon is likely to pass after Okinawa, have been shut down.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.