- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

TOKYO — A powerful typhoon slammed into Japan on Wednesday, leaving six people dead or missing in south-central regions and halting trains in Tokyo before grazing a crippled nuclear plant in the tsunami-ravaged northeast.

Officials at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, where engineers are still struggling with small radiation leaks caused by tsunami damage, expressed relief that Typhoon Roke caused no immediate problems there other than a broken security camera.

“The worst seems to be over,” said Takeo Iwamoto, spokesman for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) after the storm passed just west of the plant and then headed north.

More than 200,000 households in central Japan were without electricity late Wednesday.

Police and local media reported that at least six people were dead or missing in southern and central regions, many of them believed swept away by rivers swollen with rain.

The storm, packing sustained winds of up to 100 mph, made landfall in the early afternoon near the city of Hamamatsu, about 125 miles southwest of Tokyo.

The fast-moving storm went past the capital in the evening and then headed into the Tohoku region, which was devastated by the March 11 tsunami.

In Tokyo, where many rush-hour commuter trains were suspended, thousands of commuters trying to get home were stuck at stations.

“The hotels in the vicinity are all booked up, so I’m waiting for the bullet train to restart,” said Hiromu Harada, a 60-year-old businessman, as he stood dejectedly at Tokyo Station.

At the Fukushima plant, engineers are still working to stabilize the reactors six months after three of them melted down when the tsunami disabled the plant’s power and backup generators.

Mr. Iwamoto said the storm passed without damaging the reactors’ cooling systems, which are crucial to keeping them under control.

However, a closed-circuit camera that shows exteriors of the reactor buildings abruptly stopped, and plant workers were investigating, he said.

Workers were trying to prevent pools of contaminated water from flooding and leaking outside the complex, said Junichi Matsumoto, another power company spokesman.

“The contaminated water levels have been rising, and we are watching the situation very closely to make sure it stays there,” Mr. Matsumoto told reporters.

As the storm headed farther into the north, it triggered landslides in parts of Miyagi state that already were hit by the March disasters. Dozens of schools canceled classes.