Typhoon rages north; death toll rises to 12

Powerful Typhoon Chaba made its way northeastward Tuesday to Hokkaido after lashing southwestern and western Japan, leaving 12 people dead, five missing and at least 230 injured.

The season’s 16th typhoon hit Tomakomai, Hokkaido, and its vicinity around 2 p.m.

The 12 fatalities included a 37-year-old man found drowned in his submerged car in Kagawa Prefecture and an 82-year-old woman found in her flooded home in Okayama Prefecture.

A 75-year-old man is missing after he fell into a river in Tokushima Prefecture, and a 59-year-old man was missing after his boat capsized off Iwagi, Ehime Prefecture, according to police reports.

Fierce winds blew plaster off the walls of Himeji Castle, a U.N. World Heritage site, in Hyogo Prefecture. Two sections of the 17th-century castle’s walls were blown off.

A section of plaster of Matsuyama Castle in Ehime Prefecture was also blown away.

Chaba, which means “hibiscus” in Thai, caused flooding in more than 9,000 houses, mainly in Shikoku and the Chugoku region, the Meteorological Agency said.

Four Vietnamese crew members went missing after being washed away Monday when their 5,552-ton freighter ran aground due to the typhoon off Ehime Prefecture. A body believed to be one of them was found Tuesday afternoon.

Transportation services were disrupted by strong winds. Japan Railway companies from the Tokai region through the Tohoku region slowed trains down or suspended services altogether, affecting about 120,000 people.

Airlines canceled more than 300 flights, most of them serving Hokkaido and the Tohoku region.

The agency said Chaba became an extratropical low at around 9 p.m. as it moved out to the Sea of Okhotsk.