Japan advised more than 300,000 people to evacuate their homes on Wednesday August 14th and airlines cancelled hundreds of scheduled flights as a tropical storm bore down on the archipelago, public broadcaster NHK said.
According to Reuters, tropical storm Krosa, packing maximum winds of 108 kph, was heading north toward southwestern Japan, and is expected to make landfall on the morning of Thursday August 15th, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Evacuation advisories were issued for 310,000 residents, and about 350 flights scheduled for Thursday had been cancelled, NHK said.
"Let me ask the people to prepare well, stay alert and take lifesaving action, such as evacuating early," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a cabinet meeting.
During the 24 hours, the weather agency expects up to one meter of rain in Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four major islands.
More than 200 people died in torrential rains and flooding in parts of western Japan last year.