Japan braces super typhoon; Rugby World Cup and flights cancelled

Published on : Thursday, October 10, 2019

The cancellations were announced in Japan as cities, railways and airlines scrambled to prepare for the incoming catastrophic storm Typhoon Hagibis, which is expected to make landfall over the weekend.


As a powerful typhoon churned toward Japan, organisers of the Rugby World Cup on Thursday cancelled two upcoming matches originally scheduled to be played Saturday in stadiums in the direct path of the storm.


In deciding to cancel the two rugby matches — between New Zealand and Italy in Toyota City and between England and France in Yokohama — the World Cup organisers said they had rushed to develop contingency plans.


In the end, Alan Gilpin, chief operating officer and tournament director for World Rugby, said that it would be grossly irresponsible to leave teams, fans, volunteers and other tournament personnel exposed during what is predicted to be a severe typhoon.


Japan’s Defense Ministry scrapped the first two days of the annual October 12-14 navy review. Japan is bracing for a super typhoon on track to hit central and eastern regions over the three-day weekend with potential damage from torrential rains and strong winds.


Organisers also cancelled a marathon in Sendai and other northern coastal towns, and Formula One auto racing in Suzuka in central Japan may also be affected. As for a much anticipated match between Japan and Scotland scheduled for Sunday, the organizers said they would decide whether to proceed with the game on Sunday morning.


Japan Rail said it would most likely suspend numerous train routes, including bullet train lines between Tokyo and Osaka. And All Nippon Airways said it was grounding all domestic flights from Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports on Saturday, when the typhoon is expected to make landfall. Both ANA and Japan Airlines said they would also most likely cancel flights over the coming weekend at other airports throughout the country.


According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Typhoon Hagibis is on track to advance from the sea south of Japan, hitting the main island near Tokyo to the east, and Wakayama and Mie prefectures to the west, packing winds of about 100 miles per hour. Hagibis, which means speed in Filipino, had maximum sustained winds of up to 270 kilometers and stronger gusts at noon Thursday near Chichi island in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometers off Tokyo’s southern coast. It was moving north at the speed of 20 kph (12 mph) and is expected to weaken over cooler waters as it nears Japan’s main island.


The approaching typhoon is spreading fear especially in Chiba, near Tokyo, which was hit by Typhoon Faxai last month and many residents are still recovering from damage to their homes. The typhoon tore many electrical poles and snapped cables, triggering extensive outages that lasted for weeks, contributing to heat illnesses and other health problems among elderly people.


Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, at a regular news conference, said the government will do the utmost for the people’s safety, and urged residents near the typhoon route to take precautions early. In some places, preparations have started.


The local offices in Chiba city started distributing free sandbags to shield against flooding. The city also cautioned against power outages from potential typhoon damage and urged residents to make sure they have enough food, water and their phones are charged.


In Chofu in Tokyo’s western suburbs, workers at the city hall renovation site reinforced scaffolding and placed protective nets to prevent equipment and construction materials from being blown off. At a winery in Yamanashi, north of Tokyo, workers picked grapes Thursday to save them from the typhoon.


East Japan Railway Company said it may suspend services on most local lines and bullet trains around Tokyo before the typhoon arrives. nJapan is regularly hit by Pacific storms, including Faxai in September. Typhoon Jebi flooded a terminal and a runway at Kansai International Airport last year.














































@The Associated Press

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