Heavy rains and powerful winds battered East Asia on Thursday, pressing authorities to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in Japan and putting China on alert for its worst floods in years. In the Philippines, power was gradually restored to millions of homes in and around Manila after Typhoon Conson hit the capital harder than expected on Tuesday night, killing 23 people and leaving dozens missing. Tropical Storm Risk downgraded the typhoon to a tropical storm on Thursday, but the Philippines' weather bureau said it was expected to regain strength as it moved over the South China Sea and headed towards southern China and northern Vietnam.