Typhoon Pabuk, which hit the Kii Peninsula in western Japan shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday, claimed at least two lives as it became the first typhoon in two years to hit the mainland, the Meteorological Agency said.

It was expected to reach the Tokyo area this morning.

In addition to the two deaths, at least 22 people were injured as the storm plowed through the Tokai region, rescue officials and police said.

Yasuo Kitamura, 28, a Kinki Nippon Railway Co. employee, was electrocuted around 2 p.m. when he mistakenly touched a high-voltage train cable on the railway’s Iga Line in Ueno, Mie Prefecture, police said.

Kitamura, who was working on a 15-meter-tall power pole at the time, was trying to remove a Japanese cypress that had fallen on the cable due to strong winds caused by Pabuk, the 11th typhoon of the season.

Meanwhile, in Handa, Aichi Prefecture, the head of a pottery factory died after falling through its roof while trying to clear the rain gutters.

Hichizaemon Tsutsui, 66, died of head injuries shortly after being taken to a hospital. He had fallen about 5 meters after a 4-mm-thick roofing slate apparently broke at around 2:10 p.m., police said.

Twenty-two people in Shizuoka, Mie, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara and Kochi prefectures were injured — most of them knocked down by strong gusts.

Meanwhile, municipalities in Wakayama Prefecture have urged 7,000 residents to evacuate their homes.

In Mie Prefecture, local governments issued evacuation recommendations to 19 families due to possible river flooding.

Also, 425 residents from 27 municipalities in southern Mie voluntarily evacuated to nearby town halls and schools to avoid landslides that may be caused by heavy rains and high tides, the prefectural government said.

In many areas, power supplies were cut due to the typhoon.

The bad weather is forecast to continue due to the typhoon’s slow progress, with tides expected to be higher than normal in the affected areas.

As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, Pabuk, which means “big freshwater fish” in Laotian, was centered about 60 km southwest of Owase, Mie Prefecture, and was moving northeast at 15 kph. The storm had an atmospheric pressure of 970 hectopascals at its center and was packing winds of up to 108 kph near its center, the agency said.

All Nippon Airways canceled 15 seven flights and Japan Air System scrubbed 29, while Air Nippon and Japan Air Commuter canceled 89 other flights.

Four Continental Airlines flights bound for Guam and Saipan from Nagoya were called off.

According to West Japan Railway Co., services on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line were temporarily suspended around noon Tuesday due to strong winds between Okayama and Aioi stations.

Thirty-one express train runs were called off for the entire day Tuesday on the Kii Peninsula, while another 16 trains were canceled in central Japan.

Thirty night trains between Tokyo and areas of western Japan were scheduled to be canceled Tuesday night. Ferry services linking Tokyo, Osaka, Shikoku and Kyushu were halted.

Pabuk also caused the final game Tuesday of the national high school baseball tournament at Koshien Stadium, Hyogo Prefecture, to be postponed until today.

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