At least four people are dead and two more are missing in a typhoon that smashed into Japan from the Pacific Ocean.
Workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are bracing for the worst as the storm heads their way.
“We have taken every possible measure against the typhoon,” Naoko Tsunoda, a spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Company, operator of the plant, told reporters.
“We have tied down cables and hoses while fixing equipment so that radioactive materials will not spread [in the violent winds].” All ground and sea operations have been suspended, he added.
Winds were raging at up to 130 miles per hour at the center of the storm, with heavy rains pouring down.
Four people were found dead in central and western Japan. A young boy disappeared on his way home from elementary school, and another person has disappeared as well in the central prefecture of Gifu.
The storm, dubbed Typhoon Roke by Japan's Meteorological Agency, made landfall near Hamamatsu in central Japan at about 2:00 p.m. local time Wednesday, and was on course to move northeast across the island of Honshu.
Japan has been ravaged repeatedly by Mother Nature this year. Less than a month ago, Typhoon Talas took the lives of more than 100 people – the deadliest storm to hit central Japan in more than 30 years. Heavy downpours and flash floods caused massive landslides. Buildings were swept away, and people were lost along with them.
In March, 20,000 people died or were declared missing in the worst earthquake in the country's history. The temblor destabilized the Fukushima nuclear plant and was immediately followed by an even worse tsunami that sent three of the plant's nuclear reactors into a partial meltdown.
For months, radiation contaminated the area's air, sea and food chain in what has since been labeled the planet's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Numerous aftershocks, some nearly as strong as the earthquake itself, also rocked the area.