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Powerful Typhoon Bears Down on Tokyo - 2004-10-09

Japan is bracing for a powerful typhoon, one of the strongest storms recorded in Asia this year.

Typhoon Ma-on, (Cantonese for "horse saddle") which is packing winds of up to 162 kilometers per hour, is bearing down on Tokyo and is due to make landfall Saturday.

Japan's Meteorological Agency warns that heavy rains and strong winds could result in flash floods and landslides. Forecasters predict downpours of 50 to 80 millimeters of rain an hour.

The typhoon is the strongest storm to hit eastern Japan in 10 years.

Railway companies have suspended some rapid train services in central and eastern Japan and some international and domestic airline and ferry operations have been canceled.

Typhoon Ma-on will be the ninth major storm to hit Japan this year.