ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
TOKYO — A tropical storm was moving out into the Sea of Japan on Sunday after lashing the country with rain and wind, leaving one person dead, more than 50 injured and prompting evacuation alerts for about 1.2 million residents near swollen rivers.
Tropical Storm Halong disrupted land and air traffic as Japan began its annual “Obon” Buddhist holiday week.
Japan was also shaken Sunday afternoon by a magnitude-6.1 earthquake that struck off the northeastern coast. There was no danger of a tsunami, and there were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage. The Nuclear Regulation Authority said nuclear facilities in the area remained intact.
Originally a typhoon, Halong was downgraded to a tropical storm as it approached the southwest coast and made two landfalls — over Shikoku Island and Hyogo prefecture in western Japan. It was on track to exit into the Sea of Japan from the northern coast near Kyoto later Sunday, and further lose strength in the next 12 hours.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued the highest alert for heavy rain in Mie prefecture in central Japan, prompting two towns to order about 570,000 residents to move away from swollen rivers. Another 600,000 people were advised to evacuate across the country. Some of the evacuation advisories in western Japan were later lifted as the storm moved farther north.
In Iwate prefecture in northern Japan, a 78-year-old man was found dead late Saturday after plunging into a swollen irrigation canal at his farm.
Japan’s public television NHK said 52 people were injured in the storm.
More than 200 flights were canceled, stranding thousands of holidaymakers at airports around the country. The rainstorm also flooded about 330 homes and damaged 70 others in western Japan.
The storm, packing winds of up to 100 kilometers (60 miles) per hour, was expected to dump 12 inches of rain in central Japan by Monday morning. The meteorological agency warned of landslides and floods, and predicted heavy rain and strong wind in Tokyo and northern Japan through Monday.