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Typhoon buffets Tokyo, heads toward tsunami zone
By Yuri Kageyama, AP, Sep 21, 2011
TOKYO (AP)—A powerful typhoon buffeted Tokyo with strong winds and rain Wednesday, halting trains and stranding tens of thousands of commuters as it barreled toward the tsunami-ravaged northeastern coast with its crippled nuclear plant.
Police and local media reported that six people were dead or missing after being swept away by rivers swollen with rains from Typhoon Roke. Nearly 260,000 households in central Japan were without electricity, and authorities called for more than a million people to be evacuated in central and eastern Japan.
With commuter trains in the capital suspended, tens of thousands of commuters trying to rush home were stuck at stations across the sprawling city. Fire department officials reported three people were injured in Tokyo. In the trendy shopping district of Shibuya, winds knocked over a tree onto a sidewalk, but no one was hurt.
Typhoon Roke’s projected course was to take it near the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, where a small amount of radiation is still leaking after three of its reactors melted down when the tsunami cut off power to the plant and its back-up generators.
Takeo Iwamoto, spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operates the plant, said the cooling system for the reactors, crucial to keeping them under control, will not be endangered by the typhoon.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said just over one million people have been ordered or advised to evacuate across the country due to fear of flooding or mudslides triggered by the typhoon.