Typhoon Neoguri makes landfall on Japan's southern main island

Roadside trees are blasted by strong winds along relatively empty streets in Naha on Japan's southern island of Okinawa as Typhoon Neoguri hit the area on July 8, 2014. Japan was bracing on July 8 for one of its worst storms in over a decade as Typhoon Neoguri barreled towards the southern Okinawa island chain, with 55,000 people urged to evacuate as the weather agency issued its highest alert.

TOKYO - Typhoon Neoguri slammed into Japan's southern main island early Thursday after lashing the Okinawa island chain, with three people killed as powerful winds and torrential rains battered the country.

"It landed near Akune City shortly before 7:00 am," an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Akune sits on the western coast of Japan's southern main island of Kyushu.

The typhoon's winds slowed somewhat overnight, with the storm packing gusts of up to 126 kilometres per hour as it moved east at 25 kilometres per hour.

The system is forecast to move further along the Japanese archipelago later in the week after crossing Kyushu.

The government was set to hold a disaster-management meeting on Thursday morning to discuss how to best cope with the storm.

Officials said Neoguri would bring torrential rain and warned of the risk of flooding and landslides, after the storm forced local authorities to advise half a million people to seek shelter in Okinawa earlier in the week.

As the typhoon was bearing down on the archipelago, round-the-clock television footage pinpointed its latest location and helmet-clad reporters surveyed the damage left by the powerful storm.

Areas outside the typhoon's immediate path were also lashed with heavy rain, with a landslide in Nagano prefecture on Japan's biggest land mass of Honshu swallowing a house and killing a 12-year-old boy who was inside, according to national broadcaster NHK.

On Tuesday, the storm claimed the life of a 62-year-old man knocked off his boat in rough waters in southwestern Kochi Prefecture, according to authorities, while NHK said an 81-year-old fisherman died in Kuammoto prefecture on Kyushu.