- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 2, 2002

TOKYO (AP) One of the strongest typhoons to threaten Tokyo in decades sideswiped Japan's capital late yesterday after demolishing houses and trees, shattering windows and killing a security guard at a construction site.
Typhoon Higos dumped heavy rains on small islands and cities in and around the capital throughout the day, flooding hundreds of homes and forcing nearly 1,000 residents to be evacuated.
A 21-year-old woman was washed away at a beach near Yokohama while watching the surf, and more than 20 people were reported slightly injured, including a man whose car was hit by a tree and three persons cut by shattered windows.
Ports and highways were closed, and hundreds of flights were canceled. Authorities halted many trains connecting metropolitan cities, keeping commuters from returning home. Tens of thousands of homes were left without electricity.
Government officials issued flood warnings last night along Tokyo's Tama River, swollen to dangerous levels after nearly 8 inches of rainfall. Several houses, including a downtown Tokyo cake shop, were destroyed in loosened earth. Authorities warned of more mudslides.
The 53-year-old building guard, patrolling in a building under construction in Yokohama, was killed by a steel window frame that was blown off by the wind, police said.
A Bahamas-registered vessel ran aground off an island south of Tokyo in rough waters and might have been leaking oil, said Takashi Nagura of the Japan Coast Guard, which rescued all 24 crew.
After passing near Tokyo, Higos was packing sustained winds of 78 mph, approaching Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido.
Higos which means "fig" in Micronesian was the third-strongest typhoon to menace Tokyo since World War II, agency official Joji Ito said. Stronger typhoons have struck other parts of Japan, but rarely passed directly over the capital.
Its approach seriously disrupted transportation in the capital region, home to about 20 million people.
About 300 domestic flights, most of them to and from Tokyo or several small islands in the storm's path, were canceled, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported. More cancellations are expected today in northern Japan.

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