A large and powerful typhoon — which has rapidly intensified and gained the Meteorological Agency's highest classification of "violent" — prompted the agency to issue a rare special warning for Kagoshima Prefecture, meaning a large-scale disaster could be imminent in the southwestern prefecture.

Typhoon Nanmadol — on par with a Category 5 hurricane in strength — is forecast to reach the island of Kyushu this weekend and then curve northeast over Japan's main islands, delivering unprecedented winds, waves and storm surges to some areas.

The storm could make landfall in southern Kyushu as early as Sunday night, with the weather agency predicting only a slight weakening on its approach. The agency urged those in affected areas to take precautions or evacuate before high winds begin and before nightfall Saturday.