Typhoon Jebi made a 2,591-tonne tanker collide with the side of a bridge linking the mainland with Kansai International airport, which stands on an artificial island in Osaka Bay.
The tanker and bridge were damaged but the ship’s crew were unhurt, while tides in some areas were the highest since a typhoon in 1961. Bullet train services were reduced, while schools closed for the day.
The airport’s runway and the basement floor of a terminal building were flooded, according to local authorities. NHK reported the casualties included a 71-year-old man who was killed in western Shiga prefecture after being trapped under a warehouse that collapsed in the strong wind. According to that national broadcaster, at least 164 people had suffered mostly minor injuries. The damage to the bridge left the airport cut off from the mainland and stranded around 3,000 people there, Osaka official said.
As it made its way north from the southern island of Okinawa, Jebi was already causing widespread disruption to flights and public transport. More than 700 domestic and international flights were cancelled, along with scores of ferry and train services, NHK reported on Tuesday.
Mobile phone services were also disrupted at the transport hub, which last year handled around 28 million passengers. Elsewhere across Japan, people were hurt in landfalls. Shikoku, the smallest main island, suffered multiple landfalls.
The meteorological agency said Jebi was expected to pass over the Sea of Japan by late Tuesday and to have weakened to an extra-tropical cyclone by Wednesday morning.