Typhoons batter Japan

At least 18 people were killed and several were reported missing after the latest in a series of typ...

At least 18 people were killed and several were reported missing after the latest in a series of typhoons struck south-western Japan.

Tens of thousands of others were forced to flee their homes as Typhoon Meari caused gusts of up to 67mph (108km/h) damaged houses and caused widespread flooding.

The town of Miyagawa in the prefecture of Mie was particularly badly hit as landslides destroyed several homes. The record eighth typhoon this year left thousands of homes without power.

More than 350 flights were cancelled and train and ferry services in the affected area were suspended, stranding thousands of people, local media reported.

The storm weakened as it moved north-east at 37mph (60km/h) near the city of Ichinoseki, north of the capital, Tokyo, Japan's Meteorological Agency said.

The storm made landfall on the southern-most main island of Kyushu, before progressing north-east over large swathes of the country.

Japan has been battered by a record eight typhoons this year, breaking the previous record of six in 1990.

More than 20 people were killed and some 700 others were injured as the deadly Typhoon Songda swept up across Japan at the start of September and, in August,Typhoon Megi killed at least 13 people in Japan and South Korea.

The record of eight typhoons might be broken again this year, as the typhoon season still has another two months to run. As Reinsurance went to press Typhoon Tokage was approaching south-western Japan and looked set to cause further devastation to the region.

Latest reports on Typhoon Tokage say that 62 people have died and at least 29 people are still missing, many more are injured. Powerful gusts uprooted trees, flash floods submerged cars and entire hillsides crumbed away in landslides across southern and central Japan. The south of the country was particularly badly hit - homes were destroyed in Muroto in southwestern Kochi prefecture, where waves broke through concrete tidebreaks and into beachside properties. However, the storm had weakened by the time it reached Tokyo.

Nationwide, more than 15 700 homes were flooded and hundreds of others ripped apart or buried. More than 13,000 people across the country were staying at temporary shelters, according to officials.

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