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Typhoon Bears Down on Northeastern Japan, 6 Dead


Local girls walk in a flooded street due to typhoon Roke in Toyota, central Japan September 21, 2011.

Local girls walk in a flooded street due to typhoon Roke in Toyota, central Japan September 21, 2011.

Typhoon Roke slammed Tokyo Wednesday with fierce winds and torrential rain, halting mass transit and stranding tens of thousands of commuters before roaring toward a crippled nuclear power plant on Japan's tsunami-battered northeastern coast.

Police and media say at least six people died in central Japan after being swept away by rain-swollen rivers from the storm and its 150 kilometer-per-hour winds. Hundreds of flights and trains were cancelled, and authorities issued evacuation advisories for about 1 million people in the central city of Nagoya.

Late Wednesday, Japanese forecasters said the storm was climbing Japan's east coast at 55 kilometers an hour toward Fukushima and the nuclear power plant crippled by the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Nearly 20,000 people are dead or missing in the March catastrophe.

A spokesman for the shuttered Fukushima-Daiichi power plant said all efforts have been made to keep rainfall out of the facility and to prevent radioactive water from spilling out of the damaged reactors.

Television footage Wednesday showed residents in the city of Nagoya being carried to safety on boats pulled by rescue workers.

Western Japan is still recovering from the aftermath of Typhoon Talas, which left at least 80 people dead or missing earlier this month. The storm swept away roads and downed telephone and power lines, leaving more than 4,000 people isolated.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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