Violent Storm Hits Japan

Posted April 4th, 2012 at 3:35 am (UTC-5)
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Four people are dead after a powerful storm that struck Japan Tuesday, forcing businesses to close and disrupting air and rail services.

The typhoon-like storm hit the main island of Honshu with winds up to 144 kilometers an hour. The country's leading air carriers, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, canceled hundreds of domestic and international flights, while commuter train service was suspended throughout the island.

The storm also cut power to a cooling system for a fuel storage pool at a nuclear power plant in northern Japan, but the plant's owner, Tohoku Electric Power Company, says power was restored in about 30 minutes. Last year's nuclear crisis was triggered when a tsunami knocked out power to the cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear plant, leading to a meltdown of three of the plant's reactors.

Two people were killed in building collapses in northern and southern Japan. The other victims were an elderly man who fell off a roof, and a young woman crushed by a falling tree.

Forecasters say the storm was moving into parts of northern Japan Wednesday.