TOKYO - Powerful typhoon Neoguri lashed Japan's southern Okinawa islands Tuesday, forcing over half a million people to seek shelter, as the region's worst storm in years damaged buildings, downed trees and brought air and sea traffic to a halt.
The typhoon packed gusts of up to 252 kilometres (156 miles) per hour with torrential downpours, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights as authorities said at least one person was missing and several were injured by the raging storm.
In the capital Naha, traffic lights went off and television footage showed trees split by the force of the storm, signboards flying around and a restaurant destroyed, with the shattered building blocking a street.
Okinawa police said at least three people were injured, including a 83-year-old woman, with public broadcaster NHK putting the number of injured at eight.
Separately, the coastguard said a 62-year-old man was missing after being knocked off his boat near Japan's mainland, with the weather agency earlier warning that waves could reach as high as 14 metres (45 feet).
Schools across the sprawling archipelago were also closed while nearly 70,000 Okinawan households had no power, NHK said.