Jebi pounds Japan, causing outages and airport flood


Wed, Sep 05, 2018 - Page 6

Typhoon Jebi yesterday swept through western Japan as the strongest tropical cyclone to come ashore in 25 years, causing widespread power outages and flooding the region’s main airport.

One person was reported killed.

The storm paralyzed the nation’s second-largest population center around Osaka, with companies forced to temporarily close their plants, and power cut to more than 800,000 homes and offices.

Jebi, the 21st typhoon of the season, swept the smallest main island of Shikoku before making landfall in Kobe, carrying strong winds of up to 162kph, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

That made it a “very strong” typhoon, the second-highest on the agency’s scale. It was the first time for a typhoon to make landfall at that strength since 1993.

The storm lost strength as it moved overland toward the Sea of Japan, where it is forecast to continue weakening rapidly.

Amid strong winds and storm surges, Kansai International Airport, built on an artificial island almost directly in the cyclone’s path, suffered flooding to its runway and terminal building.

A tanker also collided with a bridge linking the airport to the mainland, forcing the airport to close entirely.

A spokeswoman for the airport said it does not know when it can resume operations.

About 860,000 buildings in the Kansai, Shikoku and Chubu regions were without power as of 5pm, according to regional utilities, and more than 680,000 people had been issued evacuation orders or advisories, Asahi Shimbun reported.

One person in Shiga Prefecture was killed when a warehouse collapsed, Kyodo news reported.

All local train lines run by West Japan Railway Co in the area’s three main cities — Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto — remained halted as of 5pm, as well as all Shinkansen high-speed trains linking Tokyo to Hiroshima.

ANA Holdings Inc and Japan Airlines Co canceled a total of 585 domestic and 13 international flights, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled a planned trip to Fukuoka in the southern island of Kyushu to deal with the disaster response.

Local production was also hit, with Toyota Motor Corp halting operations at most of its group plants and Honda Motor Co halting its Suzuka plant in Mie prefecture.

Kyocera Corp, Murata Manufacturing Co, Panasonic Corp and Shiseido Co were among other manufacturers shutting some of their facilities.

Jebi is the fourth typhoon to make landfall in Japan this season. Recent years have seen an increase in the number of typhoons directly hitting the country, with at least four making landfall every year since 2014.