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Typhoon causes chaos in Japan on election day

Typhoon Lan is not making it easy for the Japanese electorate to cast their vote
Image: Typhoon Lan is not making it easy for the Japanese electorate to cast their vote

Millions have battled severe wind and rain to vote in Japan’s election, as a powerful typhoon causes chaos across the country.

While voting went ahead, more than 70,000 households were advised to evacuate – with 5,000 of those ordered to leave.

Typhoon Lan – a category four storm – has also forced car manufacturer Toyota to suspend operations at several plants.

Shinzo Abe at an election rally in Tokyo
Image: Shinzo Abe at an election rally in Tokyo

Hundreds of flights were cancelled as the typhoon roared towards the coast, with train services disrupted in southern and western parts of Japan.

Heavy rain and flood warnings have been issued to the Pacific side of the country, with winds of over 140mph and 80mm (three inches) of rain predicted per hour.

Despite the bad weather, early indications showed voter turnout has been high.

Kim Jong Un celebrates the successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14
Image: Kim Jong Un celebrates a successful ballistic missile test

Exit polls are predicting a big win for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s right-wing ruling coalition, suggesting the group could get as many as 311 seats in the 465-seat parliament.

Mr Abe had called the election one year early, hoping to ride high on his hard line stance towards the North Korea crisis.

In August and September Kim Jong Un fired ballistic missiles over Japan, threatening to “sink” Japan into the sea.

North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile test
Image: Intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14

Japan also faces domestic economic challenges, exacerbated by an ageing population.

Despite his predicted success, Mr Abe is not popular with voters, and he has faced a number of recent scandals.

A “supermajority” in the lower house would allow Mr Abe to challenge the US-imposed constitution limiting Japan’s military freedoms.

preview image

Victory will see Mr Abe, 63, become the country’s longest-serving leader.

Meanwhile, Typhoon Lan is expected to make landfall near Tokyo early on Monday.

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