Typhoon Halola cancels dozens of flights in Japan

TOKYO: A strong typhoon brought travel misery to Japan on Saturday as fierce winds and heavy rain caused the cancellation of dozens of domestic flights to the country's southwest island chain, Okinawa.

Winds of almost 160 kilometres per hour (100 miles per hour) were recorded early Saturday in remote islands west of Naha, the regional capital, while rain deluged the area as Typhoon Halola moved northward, the Kyodo news agency reported.

As a result, Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) cancelled 56 flights, mostly to Naha, while Japan Airlines (JAL) was forced to ground 17 scheduled departures, Kyodo said.

ANA posted a statement on its website saying it was not expecting the disruption to continue into Sunday, while JAL said it was hoping to operate a normal service with the exception of Amami-Oshima airport, situated 610 kilometres (380 miles) northwest of Naha.

As of 7 pm local time (1000 GMT) the typhoon was 60 kilometres southwest of the city of Amami.

Typhoon Halola is expected to continue its path northwards over the sea west of Japan and to lose strength on Sunday.