Storm sparks nuclear fears in Japan

Typhoon Songda churned northeast along Pacific coasts in southern Japan yesterday, bringing heavy rains and staying on course to hit Tokyo as it weakened.

It was expected to be downgraded to a depression today but could still dump torrential rain on the northeast coast, which was devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

The typhoon, packing winds of up to 160km/h, was about 100km off the southwestern tip of Shikoku island last night, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

It was not clear if it would directly hit the Fukushima nuclear power plant, 200km northeast of the capital.

The typhoon has brought heavy rain to Fukushima, prompting fears that run-off water may wash away radioactive materials into the Pacific. Plant operator Tepco has been pouring synthetic resins over the complex to prevent radioactive deposits from being swept away.

- AFP

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