October 11, 2019 / 3:42 AM / a month ago

Japan's capital braces for what could be heaviest rain in 60 years

TOKYO, Oct 11 (Reuters) - A powerful storm approached Japan on Friday, threatening to batter its capital with the heaviest rain in 60 years, disrupting a Formula One Grand Prix and rugby’s World Cup and raising fears of transport chaos.

Typhoon Hagibis, which means “speed” in the Philippine language Tagalog, is due to make landfall on the main island of Honshu on Saturday, a month after one of the strongest typhoons to hit Japan in recent years destroyed or damaged 30,000 houses and caused extensive power cuts.

“The typhoon could bring record-level rainfall and winds,” an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency told a news conference.

The storm could be the strongest to hit Tokyo since 1958 and people should also prepare for high waves and storm surges, the JMA said.

Officials in the Chiba prefecture east of Tokyo, which was hit hard by typhoon Faxai a month ago, have told people to prepare supplies of food and water for up to three days.

Japanese Formula One Grand Prix organisers cancelled all practice and qualifying sessions scheduled for Saturday, adding that the qualifying round would be held on Sunday, before the final race takes place as planned.

The approaching super typhoon has already forced the cancellation of two matches of the rugby World Cup on Saturday, while a Sunday match between host Japan and Scotland is in doubt.

Airline ANA Holdings cancelled all domestic flights to and from Tokyo’s two main airports from Friday afternoon.

It and rival Japan Airlines Co cancelled some flights to and from airports servicing the major cities of Osaka and Nagoya.

Most flights operating to and from those airports would be cancelled on Saturday, both airlines said on their websites.

Train services, including Shinkansen bullet trains, are likely to be cancelled over the weekend, operators have said.

Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu and Tim Kelly Editing by Robert Birsel

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