A man uses a flashlight as he locks up a convenience store during a blackout caused by Typhoon Faxai in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday night. Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato
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Typhoon leaves 3 dead in Tokyo area: strands 14,000 at Narita

17 Comments

At least three people have died and more than 50 were injured as a powerful typhoon battered the Tokyo metropolitan area, causing transportation outages that affected nearly 3 million commuters and left thousands stranded at Narita airport east of the capital.

East Japan Railway Co suspended all train lines in the metropolitan and surrounding areas before Typhoon Faxai made landfall near the city of Chiba shortly before 5 a.m. as one of the strongest typhoons known to have hit the Kanto region of eastern Japan.

At Narita airport, an international gateway to Japan, about 14,000 people were stranded on Monday night as the public transportation system connecting the airport and the metropolitan area was suspended, according to Narita International Airport Corp.

Airport officials provided travelers with blankets and crackers. They also passed out sleeping bags to some who decided to spend the night, following a day in which most trains were not running and buses were scarce even after service resumed.

The airport extended its operations by two hours to 1 a.m. on Tuesday. Some international flights of Japan Airlines Co from Guam and Manila were diverted to Tokyo's Haneda airport due to congestion at Narita.

Many people lined up at train station entrances and counters for shuttle bus services, while other areas in the airport such as food courts were flooded with travelers.

"I was relieved because my flight was not canceled, but I didn't imagine this situation at the airport," said Ryoichi Fukuyama, a 21-year-old college student residing in Tokyo, after arriving from Hokkaido. "I will ask my friend who has a car to pick me up."

Some 930,000 households, mostly in Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, experienced temporary power cuts, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

A woman in her 50s in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward was confirmed dead after she was blown off her feet and into a wall, while an 87-year-old man died after a tree toppled on him while he was removing fallen trees on a mountain in Otaki, Chiba Prefecture, according to police.

A 47-year-old male civilian who was fixing a power generator at the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture died after apparently falling from a height, the police said. A 17-year-old boy went missing at a beach in Chiba Prefecture as well.

Apparently due to strong gusts, a tall fence surrounding a golf driving range collapsed onto residences in Ichihara, also in the prefecture, leaving a woman in her 20s with serious injuries.

A tree also fell onto an overhead power line between Shinagawa and Osaki stations in Tokyo, and railway crossing equipment was knocked over by winds on the Yokosuka Line, according to JR East.

Winds of up to 209 kilometers per hour were reported on Kozu Island in the Izu islet chain, 207 kph in Chiba city and 156 kph at Haneda airport, all breaking records, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Many vessels were adrift in Tokyo Bay due to strong winds and high waves, leading to collisions involving cargo ships. No injuries were reported in connection with such incidents.

JR East resumed most services later in the day, though delays and disruptions continued as major stations were swamped by commuters and other passengers.

"I was prepared to wait. I'll take whatever line that moves, even if they're not JR lines," said 63-year-old Yukio Sato, who was on his way to work in Tokyo from his home in Yokohama.

Kazumi Kajiwara, 48, said she left her home around 5 a.m. and waited over an hour at Yokohama Station so she could get to work as quickly as possible.

At noon Sunday, the train operator announced ahead of the typhoon's arrival that services for the following day might be canceled given the expected major impact of the storm and the time needed to check the status of lines before restarting operations.

It was the second time JR East has preannounced a suspension in services ahead of a typhoon, after first doing so on Sept 30 last year.

As the season's 15th typhoon passed eastern Japan, warm air from the south accompanying the storm pushed up temperatures across the Japanese archipelago.

The mercury climbed to 37.9 C in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, marking a season-high for the central Japan city. Tajimi in nearby Gifu Prefecture logged 37.6 C.

The power outage forced a Sony Corp unit to suspend operations at a plant in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture, where it produces the PlayStation 4 console.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency said a defunct cooling tower at its research facility in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, was found collapsed in the morning. No radioactive materials leaked in the incident, it said.

Seven nuclear monitoring posts set up by the central government in Chiba Prefecture began failing to send data on radiation levels from early Monday, apparently due to the typhoon, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority and the Chiba prefectural government. Six of them had begun functioning again by Monday evening.

In the 24 hours through early Monday morning, the typhoon brought more than 440 millimeters of rainfall to the city of Izu in Shizuoka Prefecture, with as much as 109.0 mm falling in one hour in the early morning.

© KYODO

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

17 Comments
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And this is only the start of typhoon season. Stay safe guys.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Unbelievable that Japanese companies would not have told workers to stay at home until the typhoon had passed. With no train service how did they expect their workers to get to their jobs? I really felt sorry for all those people lined up trying to get onto a train just to satisfy their stupid companies.

24 ( +25 / -1 )

And we just finished Disaster Day last week. So much for the circus training display last week. Japan still doesn't have a contingency plan for any disaster. One would think that after the Tohoku earthquake, they would have developed one and stressed tested it. Nope. Watching the fiasco yesterday you would have thought that comm'l industry would have had a plan to keep all employees at home so that the city would be clear for first responders and damage assessment teams. If the companies could not operate for a day or even just half a day, then it means that they don't have a BCP. We are in 2019 and they still don't have a BCP...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Unbelievable that Japanese companies would not have told workers to stay at home until the typhoon had passed.

Well, even if the company said to stay home, many workers won't if they are looking to advance in the company. Loyalty (i.e. blind obedience) is being tested. However, I feel things are slowly changing. Unfortunately the mindset to install remote access technology to allow staff to access to one's office computer from home is not very prevalent companies.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

It'll be interesting to see if holding the Olympics next year will occur during some typhoons.

Stay safe!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

an 87-year-old man died after a tree toppled on him while he was removing fallen trees on a mountain in Otaki, Chiba Prefecture

And there we go - the mandatory totally-avoidable death by an old man doing something irresponsible in hazardous conditions. Removing fallen trees DURING a typhoon - age 87? Come on.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

And there we go - the mandatory totally-avoidable death by an old man doing something irresponsible in hazardous conditions. Removing fallen trees DURING a typhoon

It doesn't say that he was removing the tree during the typhoon.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

OK Strangerland - I'll bite. Please explain the wisdom of an 87-year-old man moving fallen trees up a mountain.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It doesn’t say the reason in the article.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Airport officials provided travelers with blankets and crackers.

This just sounds like hell.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese companies should be held to account for employees leaving at 5am just to get to the office.

Kazumi Kajiwara, 48, said she left her home around 5 a.m. and waited over an hour at Yokohama Station so she could get to work as quickly as possible.

It's not 1945 anymore. This is beyond ridiculous.

Do you want to know there is that mad transport crush mindset in this country? Read above.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Airport officials provided travelers with blankets and crackers.

Sounds like kindergarten

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japanese company workers have to try to be there. Its the culture of not being weak minded. You have to try. The boss will say " I made it here, why couldn't you?" or "You will never be (shachou) if you can't think and give your best no matter the situation. Or the boss will phone the employee and say "I'm here, where are you?" Until that stops, we will see those commuters all lined up and waiting.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I stayed home in the typhoon, and amazingly, I did not wait in any lies or die....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wow. In Hawaii, we stay home if the surf comes up or it is raining.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"You will never be (shachou)"

Yeah, well sadly she would probably never be "shacho" (president) anyway, not even "bucho" (general manager). You may be right, but I really hate the fake carrot lure they use to motivate that employees would have no chance of getting anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Put power line and telephone lines underground.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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