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A typhoon that swept through Japan has caused more radioactive leaks at the troubled Fukushima plant.

Workers there say they have detected high levels of radiation in a ditch leading to the Pacific Ocean and suspect heavy rains lifted contaminated soil.

At least 18 people have died after Typhoon Wipha destroyed homes and triggered mudslides. Dozens are still missing.

The worst hit area was was Izu Oshima island, about 120 kilometres south of Tokyo.

Rescue workers are still sifting their way through the debris in the hope of finding survivors.

It was one of the most powerful storms to hit Japan in years with more than 80 centimetres of rain falling within 24 hours.

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