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17 dead as typhoon batters Japan

A woman looks at the aftermath of landslides in the rubble of smashed houses in Oshima after a powerful typhoon hit Izu Oshima island, about 75 miles south of Tokyo Wednesday morning. Typhoon Wipha triggered landslides and caused multiple deaths on the Japanese island, before sweeping up the country's east coast, grounding hundreds of flights and paralyzing public transportation in Tokyo during Wednesday morning's rush hour. AP photo/Kyodo News

A woman looks at the aftermath of landslides in the rubble of smashed houses in Oshima after a powerful typhoon hit Izu Oshima island, about 75 miles south of Tokyo Wednesday morning. Typhoon Wipha triggered landslides and caused multiple deaths on the Japanese island, before sweeping up the country's east coast, grounding hundreds of flights and paralyzing public transportation in Tokyo during Wednesday morning's rush hour. AP photo/Kyodo News

TOKYO - At least 17 people died and 46 were missing in eastern Japan as a powerful typhoon bringing torrential rains and strong winds lashed the region Wednesday, authorities said.

Sixteen residents died and 42 people remained unaccounted for after dozens of homes were destroyed by mudslides on Izu Oshima island, about 75 miles south of Tokyo, the National Police Agency said.

Record rainfall of nearly 5 inches per hour was registered on Izu Oshima earlier in the day and the rainfall over the past 24 hours until Wednesday morning had exceeded 31 inches, more than double the average for October on the island, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

One woman was also killed in Machida city, western Tokyo, after she was swept away by a swollen stream, while four people were missing in prefectures neighboring Tokyo, police said.

Thirty-one people were injured in wide areas of the country, police said.

Typhoon Wipha was downgraded to an extratropical cyclone after travelling north-east at a speed of 50 miles per hour, hovering off the coast of north-eastern Japan, the agency said.

The agency still warned of flooding, mudslides and high waves in eastern, northeastern and northern Japan.

As the fast-moving typhoon was pounding eastern and north-eastern Japan on Wednesday, authorities urged tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

The storm disrupted transport in wide areas of eastern and north-eastern Japan, including in the capital, as hundreds of domestic flights were canceled and many train services were suspended.

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