TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A powerful typhoon is expected to make landfall in western Japan on Tuesday afternoon, with the weather agency warning of heavy rain and strong winds in both western and eastern regions of the country and airlines canceling more than 600 flights.
Typhoon Jebi is expected to come very close to the main island of Shikoku or the Kii Peninsula around noon and make landfall there, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The agency, which also warned of high waves, has called on the public to be vigilant against flooding and mudslides caused by the typhoon.
Categorized as "very strong" based on its top wind speeds, Jebi would be the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 1993 if it maintains its force, an agency official said at a press conference Monday.
As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jebi was traveling about 60 kilometers south of Cape Muroto in Kochi Prefecture, western Japan, at a speed of about 45 km per hour. It was packing winds of up to 216 kph with an atmospheric pressure of 945 hectopascals at its center.
Japan has been hit by a succession of typhoons recently, with western parts of the country devastated by massive flooding and landslides that left more than 220 people dead in July.
The agency said the typhoon is expected to pass over the Sea of Japan by late Tuesday and move northward, and by Wednesday morning, weaken to an extratropical cyclone.
The imminent arrival of Jebi in western Japan affected the operations of transportation systems and commercial facilities.
Domestic airlines have decided to cancel local and international flights mainly scheduled to depart and arrive in airports in western and central Japan. All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co. have canceled 289 and 180 flights, respectively.
Railway operators also halted some services, including on the Tokaido Shinkansen and Sanyo Shinkansen lines.
Some parts of expressways are also expected to be closed.
Department stores in western Japan including Osaka and Kyoto prefectures decided to close for the day. USJ Co., the operator of Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, also closed the park.
In the 24-hour period through 6 a.m. on Wednesday, up to 500 millimeters of rain may fall in central Japan and up to 400 mm in western Japan.
The typhoon is unlikely to come close to the Japanese capital.