Super typhoon threatens Japanese GP, Rugby World Cup

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) confirmed on Wednesday a category five super typhoon remains on course to hit mainland Japan at the weekend, which may disrupt the Japanese Grand Prix and a series of key Rugby World Cup games.

Category five is the highest category of typhoon, with sustained winds of 157mph or higher.

The JMA projects Typhoon Hagibis could be "the strongest to hit Japan this year", with high winds and heavy rain set to reach southern Japan on Saturday.

An earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale was also felt in Japan around 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, with the epicentre located near the Izu Islands.

World Rugby are monitoring the latest weather updates and are set to issue an update on Thursday.

The Japanese Grand Prix is scheduled to take place at the Suzuka circuit, south-west of Osaka, meaning both qualifying and the race itself could be impacted. In the 2014 race at the same circuit, Jules Bianchi crashed in heavy rain from Typhoon Panphone and died from his injuries the following year.

Hagibis is forecast to hit the southern island of Kyushu on Saturday, where two Rugby World Cup games are to be held this weekend -- Ireland's crucial match against Samoa at Fukuoka on Saturday and Wales' game against Uruguay in Kumamoto on Sunday.

Although the worst disruption is expected to be in the south west, the JMA has warned the entire south coast could be impacted. Yokohama hosts two games with a big impact on the quarter-finals -- England's game against France on Saturday is followed by hosts Japan's showdown with Scotland on Sunday.

Under World Rugby's tournament rules, if any matches are abandoned due to the weather then the game is declared a draw and both teams are awarded two points, which could have major implications on who progresses to the knock-out stages.

The threat of extreme weather has been a theme of the Rugby World Cup so far. The England team was stranded at Narita International Airport for over five hours on arrival in Japan due to Typhoon Faxai.

Organisers also warned of disruption from Tropical Storm Tapah over the opening weekend, while there were contingency plans in place to relocate France's game with the U.S. last week if it was affected by Typhoon Mitag. Mitag eventually passed by Japan.

The Japanese Grand Prix has been impacted by extreme weather on a number of occasions in the past. While 2014 featured the Bianchi accident, in 2010 qualifying had to be held on Sunday morning due to a washout on Saturday. Motor racing's governing body, the FIA, is monitoring the situation.

An FIA spokesperson told ESPN the preparations for the race are continuing as normal, and "working closely in conjunction with the Japanese Automobile Federation and F1 to react as necessary should any timetable changes become necessary", adding that the Japanese GP practices in these scenarios are well-practiced given the race's history with inclement weather.