Typhoon Pabuk Heading for Japan

From Reuters

Packing winds of nearly 80 mph, Typhoon Pabuk churned toward Japan on Monday, forcing cancellation of domestic flights, halting ferries to South Korea and threatening to delay a rocket launch.

More than 70 homes had been flooded on Amami O Shima island in southwestern Japan, and weather officials said the slow-moving storm resembled a 1994 typhoon that caused casualties and heavy damage.

The Meteorological Agency warned that Typhoon Pabuk--a Laotian word for a large freshwater fish--could make a direct strike on western Japan late today or early Wednesday and then head north along the main island of Honshu.

One casualty could be the maiden launch of Japan's next-generation H-2A rocket, set for the weekend.

The rocket program is already under a storm cloud after the failed launches of two prototypes and the specter of funding cuts by a reformist government trying to stem wasteful public spending.

Up to 12 inches of rain are expected by midday today in some areas of southwestern Japan.

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