|Neoguri heading toward Fukushima plant
Tropical storm Neoguri churned toward the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Japan's east coast on Friday after leaving several people dead and causing havoc in other parts of the country.
The storm was downgraded from a typhoon after sweeping past Tokyo earlier Friday, where it failed to disrupt the morning rush-hour, but was still packing winds of up 83 kilometers an hour and bringing heavy rain.
Workers at Fukushima are already locked in a daily struggle to contain huge amounts of contaminated water and have been scrambling to protect the plant from the bands of rainfall being brought by Neoguri.
The operators of the plant, which was knocked out by a quake-triggered tsunami in 2011, have been trying to prevent groundwater tainted by the coolant used to maintain low temperatures at the destroyed reactors from leaking into the sea.
Japan's weather agency issued strong wind and rain warnings for the Fukushima region but a spokesman for the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power said the situation was stable.
``We are conducting today's operations as scheduled while monitoring any impact from the typhoon,'' he said.
Neoguri, which hit the mainland Thursday morning, reached Futtsu in Chiba prefecture, some 45 kilometers southeast of central Tokyo, shortly before 5:00 am, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Television footage showed high waves slamming into breakwaters in Chiba, while emergency officials hurriedly built temporary barriers against further landslides.
But the impact of the typhoon on the capital was limited, with train and flight services running as normal during the morning rush hour, local media reported. --AFP