Tokyo: One of the most powerful typhoons in decades hit Japan's Okinawa on Sunday, with meteorologists warning it could bring record rain and wind to the southern region and waves of up to 13 metres.

Typhoon Bolaven, packing winds of up to 252 kilometres per hour, was some 90 kilometres east of Okinawa's capital Naha, slowly moving north-northwest, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

"As the typhoon is moving slowly, violent winds are expected to continue for many hours on the Okinawa main island," the agency said, also warning of 13-metre waves through Monday.

The atmospheric pressure of the typhoon indicated it was one of the strongest since the weather agency started taking records about 60 years ago, local media said.

Residents of Naha city were being advised to stay indoors as public broadcaster showed footage of deserted streets lined with trees felled by strong winds.

Some 300 residents evacuated to municipal offices and other public facilities, media reported, fearing that their homes may be submerged in heavy rains.

The traffic system was paralysed, with all flights to and from Naha airport and ships linking the main island with smaller islands being cancelled, a news agency said.

Roads and bus services were closed on the island while an elevated rail link in Naha city had also been shut down, news agency added.

About 3,000 homes in Okinawa and 16,400 homes in Amami island were hit by a blackout, the news agency reported, citing local utilities.

Four people sustained minor injuries in Okinawa prefecture, including a 91-year-old man who was knocked down by strong wind, media said.


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