Eintime Conversion for education and research 05-14-2006 @ 16:51:01
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Record10th Typhoon Japan*

Japan typhoon toll rises to 57

TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) -- The death toll in Japan from Typhoon Tokage has reached 57, with 32 others missing, according to Kyodo news agency.

Another 300 people have been injured.

Rescuers across the nation are searching for those missing after the powerful typhoon raked the country with heavy rains and high winds, unleashing deadly floods and landslides.

Typhoon Tokage, described as the deadliest storm to hit Japan in a decade, headed out to sea Thursday morning after sideswiping Tokyo and was later downgraded to a tropical depression.

It was a record 10th typhoon to hit Japan this year.

The death toll is the highest since the 62 people killed or still unaccounted for after a typhoon in 1991.

At Toyama, 255 km (158 miles) west of Tokyo, 167 people, including 102 trainees aged around 20, were being slowly taken to shore from their ship, the 2,556-tonne Kaio Maru, which ran aground on a breakwater in the middle of the storm. Three suffered injuries such as broken wrists.

The ship was waiting out the typhoon when winds of 144 km/h (89 mph) and high seas swept it onto the breakwater, said an official at the National Institute for Sea Training, its operator.

A Coast Guard official said: "Waves were crashing onto the deck, making it impossible for the crew and trainees to get out themselves."

Heavy rains that pounded much of Japan on Wednesday set off landslides that killed many people. Others died in flooding or were swept away by massive waves.

Rescuers in the western Japanese prefecture of Okayama began digging through the rubble of seven homes crushed in a landslide hoping to find survivors.

Among the dead were three people killed when high waves battered through a concrete breakwater and smashed into their home in Kochi, on Shikoku island in western Japan.

Television showed people holding on to power poles to stay on their feet as the storm swept up the coast towards Tokyo.

Telephone poles stuck up out of muddy water that still covered vast areas near the ancient capital city of Kyoto.

Thirty-seven people who had spent the night on top of a tourist bus after being stranded by floodwaters were rescued by rubber boat early on Thursday.

Tokyo was buffeted by strong winds and rain but no major damage was reported.

As of 7.00 a.m. (2300 GMT) the weakening typhoon was located in the Pacific some 60 km (37 miles) east of Inubo Cape, just east of Tokyo.

During the worst of the storm, thousands of people were urged to evacuate to schools and public halls out of fear of flooding and landslides. At least 40,000 homes lost power at one point.

Storms and floods have now killed more than 100 people in Japan this year and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. The previous typhoon, Ma-on, pummelled Tokyo and killed six people across the country earlier this month.


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