Typhoon Sanvu has become the year's first typhoon, and the first such storm since early October 2011.
No major land masses are under threat from Sanvu, which will track near a few small remote islands later in the week.
Friday morning, the center of Typhoon Sanvu was about 150 miles southwest of Iwo To, and almost 1,000 miles south of Tokyo. Movement was towards the north-northeast at about 10 mph, highest sustained winds being around 85 mph, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said.
Sanvu will approach Iwo To later Friday with gusts over 100 mph. According to the JTWC. Sanvu is forecast to hold typhoon status through Saturday. Thereafter, Sanvu, weakening to a tropical storm, is expected to veer northeast into the open Pacific Ocean.
Sanvu is only the second named western north Pacific storm thus far in 2012. Storms of hurricane strength here are known as typhoons.
Meteorologist Eric Leister contributed to this story.
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