Some residents taped up their apartment windows in case they shattered. TV talks shows showed footage of household items like a slipper bashing through glass when hurled by winds as powerful as the approaching typhoon.
The typhoon that hit the Tokyo region in 1958 left more than 1200 people dead and a half-million houses flooded.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet held a disaster management meeting on Friday. He said 17,000 police and military troops were ready for rescue operations.
“The typhoon could cause power outages, damage to infrastructure and significantly affect people’s lives,” Abe said.
Hagibis, which means “speed” in Filipino, was advancing north-northwestward with maximum sustained winds of 162 kilometres per hour, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. It was expected to make landfall near Tokyo later Saturday and then pass out to sea eastward.
Evacuation advisories have been issued for risk areas, including Shimoda city, west of Tokyo. Dozens of evacuation centres were opening in coastal towns, and people were resting on gymnasium floors, saying they hoped their homes were still there after the storm passed.
The storm has disrupted this nation’s three-day weekend, which includes Sports Day on Monday.
Qualifying for a Formula One auto race in Suzuka was pushed to Sunday. The Defence Ministry cut a three-day annual navy review to a single day on Monday.
All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines grounded most domestic and international flights scheduled Saturday at the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya airports.