Japan's Typhoon Death Toll Rises to 17

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A typhoon that pummeled western Japan left at least 17 people dead and 43 missing on Sunday after swollen rivers swept away buildings and landslides crushed houses.

One of the victims drowned to death after flood waters gushed into his car, and streets were submerged in scenes that rekindled memories of the March 11 tsunami disaster.

Typhoon Talas, which made landfall on Saturday, packed gusts of up to 108 kilometers (68 miles) per hour as it cut across the main island of Shikoku and the western part of Honshu island.

In Nara prefecture's Totsukawa village, a gushing river washed away housing complexes, leaving at least two people dead and seven missing, the local government said.

And in Wakayama the prefectural police announced at least 10 people died with 32 missing, suggesting the death toll in that area alone may rise further.

One of the victims was a man who drowned to death after flood waters surged into his car, and another man was killed after a landslide hit his house, the local government said.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that in total at least 17 people had died and 43 were missing, while another 98 people were injured.

Television footage showed massive landslides crushing wooden houses in mountainous communities, with muddy water submerging streets and washing away wooden debris and cars.

The powerful storm was slowly moving north into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) on Sunday morning, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

With the typhoon moving away, however, the agency warned of more mudslides in the western region where massive rainfalls -- more than 180 centimeters (72 inches) in some areas -- have been recorded since Tuesday night.

According to agency data a typhoon which hit Japan in October, 2004, left 98 people dead or missing, while a storm in September the same year left 46 people dead or missing.

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