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Izu Oshima mayor under fire for not issuing evacuation order

36 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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36 Comments
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Bit rough blaming him and they had issued 'repeated warnings of river flooding'.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I think the mayor was at least halfway in the right here, trying to evacuate a town at night in a typhoon would have been chaos. It surely isn`t easy to be the person who has to make those kind of decisions.

11 ( +12 / -2 )

I don't know how to feel about this. A part of me thinks an evacuation order should have been issued but a part of me agrees that an order in the middle of the night probably would have been more dangerous.

I don't know why he wasn't there during the crisis but if he was on vacation or a business trip, was he supposed to come home to endure the typhoon with his people? Sounds kinda absurd to me. If he was gone, however, to avoid the typhoon, then yeah, he's whack.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I think this is bad, but the outcome could have been far worse. He was forced to choose between two evils. The question is now how will he fix the situation? Judging by what I'm reading, it sounds like he will make the right choice and immediately do everything in his power to clean up the devastation and help people not just move on but bring as much of their lives back as he can.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is most " regretable" but I'm sure they will " sincerely reflect on the situation", "collect all relevant information swiftly " and "take appropriate action speedily ", "to avoid public confusion" - "we will consider forming an expert panel.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

I just think people should be more aware of where they have been living for years. Why wait for someone to tell you to evecuate? Take the initiative to go somewhere safer if you think you might be in danger from a typhoon.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Hind sight is always 20/20. In the comfort of our security and safety today, anyone can second guess decisions they cannot fathom in the heat of the moment.

If anyone caught the Close Up Gendai last night, NHK crew had footage of the whole ordeal. City officials were up all night when the typhoon hit and several times considered issuing evacuation; however declined due to 2 reasons:

1) It was pouring cats and dogs already for several hours 2) The rain was so heavy that even with the evacuation siren, much less at 2am, officials believed it would cause more harm than good, IF they could even hear the siren from the downpour.

After watching Close Up last night, I really felt thankful to those city officials who do work hard in service to their residents.

5 ( +5 / -1 )

Why do people have to wait for a government official to tell them what to do? Stop wanting to be babysat. Pay attention and make logical decisions. They announced 100s of mm of rain were coming days prior. The future is unpredictable but you have to wake up and look after yourself.

4 ( +6 / -3 )

I agree that he wasn't at fault. You don't start an evacuation at 3-4 in the morning unless you want MORE deaths.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

but exactly what "initiatives" and "decisions" could these people have made? they probably don't open evacuation centers UNLESS there is an evacuation order. so basically these people had to stay pat. do you risk death by staying home or risk death by going out during a typhoon?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Typhoons often change directions. Imagine the complaints if he had evacuated the island and the typhoon had changed direction. Is it easy to evacuate people from an island in a typhoon?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I may be wrong, but I always thought that evacuation orders were issued prior to the actual event, not during.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

He apologized? What?

"Ooops. My bad."

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Is he actually "under fire" or is this just another alarmist, inciteful headline?

Yes he made a tough call and it turned out it wasn't the best choice. He regrets that terribly. We are all sympathetic.

Ms. Alexander, not sure if you're familiar with the little island, but it's not surprising the mayor couldn't get back from the mainland, with a typhoon in the area. The island is part of metro Tokyo, so he likely attends a lot of meetings here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

First of all, evacuations should happen before, not during a typhoon, and I'm skeptical that evacuating in the middle of the night is too dangerous and would cause anywhere near as many deaths as have occurred.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

He did not issue any order at all. At least, he should have issued an alert and waked up the islanders.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Izu Oshima is an active volcano.

The residents will all have rehearsed their escape to the local shelter in the annual drills and past eruptions.

20:20 hindsight and all that, the lesson is better safe than sorry.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is not like there was no prior warning that a very powerful storm was on it's way.I think his inaction was irresponsible,but not total blame.Next week Wed-Thurs another one same path!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Why be so soft on the mayor? With such a powerful hurricane, you evacuate before the rain becomes so heavy at 3 or 4 in the morning. Many lives were lost because of poor planning, so this should not happen again in the future I hope!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I don't think this guy is to blame they put out a serious number of warnings, people need to think for themselves, plus it was the middle of the night

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“There is concern that perhaps more lives could have been saved if there had been an evacuation. We have concluded this and must apologize,”

There were DAYS of warnings on how strong the typhoon was and where it was headed. More than apologizing, these clowns should resign. I realize, of course, that if they had evacuated everyone and the typhoon didn't hit they would be criticized as well, but in this case it's a very tell-talle case that's it's better to be safe than sorry, and they failed. Lives were lost as a direct result of their inaction.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The mayor wasn't on the island during the typhoon. It's almost as if he self evacuated by leaving the island before the storm hit. Any evacuation had to have been done before it started raining. They just didn't think it was going to be that bad even though this was one of the biggest typhoon to hit Japan. To me, they should have setup evacuation centers and maybe even a voluntary evacuation just in case. Then they could have called an evacuation even in the middle of the night. If you see the mountainside coming down, shouldn't you at least try to get the people out of harm's way? They didn't monitor the situation correctly, and they were to indecisive. They also lacked leadership because the mayor was not there. So who was calling the shots?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Should of, could of, would of, but didn't. It's like a condom. "It's better to have one and not need it than to not have one and need it" He and/or the emergency services should have given the evacuation order. It was billed as the strongest typhoon to hit the region in ten years. How much more information did they need?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

He wasn't on that island, he was on one of the smaller islands in the chain. It seems highly unlikely that he "self evacuated" himself to a smaller nearby island to escape from the typhoon.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The real question should be, what qualifications does a town mayor have for deciding whether to order an evacuation or not? What people does he/she have in the field to assess the situation?

I'm guessing little or no in answer to both questions.

Evacuation calls/warning in these situations should be made early by at least prefectural-level officials who have access to professional advice. At the very least cities, town and villages should have up-to-date scientific information on the risks to their area from heavy rain.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Where is the personal responsibility of people here? You live on an island that has been hit by typhoons in the past, you live amongt volcanic ash, you were warned for days that the strongest typhoon in a decade was coming. How on earth is this man being held responsible for this?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

If the evacuation order was issued, how many would have followed it?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I understand that the culture where I come from one person does usually make the decision. However, in Japan a group is usually responsible for making a decision. I find it odd that one person has to take the blame in Japan in this situation.

However, I do have one question where were they supposed to evacuate to? Were they supposed to leave the island? Wouldn't that be more dangerous?

However I have to admit I've never been to this place so I can't say anything definite at this time. The only one thing I can say is let's hope more people are found alive!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

However, I do have one question where were they supposed to evacuate to? Were they supposed to leave the island? Wouldn't that be more dangerous?

As this typhoon was hyped up as the biggest typhoon in 10 years, it gave the residents plenty of time to evacuate. As I said in my earlier post, if you lived there for many years, you should know how the surrounding environment should withstand heavy storms. If you think it's going to be dangeraous, you should evacuate to somewhere you know you will be safe before it happens and not wait for someone to tell you to "run".

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm sure if he did order the evacuation and people died he would probably be "under fire" for doing it in the middle of the night. People are angry and want someone to throw under the bus in this situation. However there was plenty of information broadcasted about how bad this typhoon was going to come and with flood warnings issued in the morning, the only people who should be under fire here are the fools who stayed home instead of using common sense. Then again, they are all living on an island with a volcano on it, so I guess common sense isn't all that common there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

People in positions of authority (Prime Minister, Mayors, Governors, etc), in most cases, are provided the necessary information to make decisions for the people they represent...is my guess as to why he's under fire for making the decision (or non-decision) he made.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

" The areas affected by the mudslides were indicated as hazardous zones on maps, "

I am curious why the local government allows residental buildings in hazardous zones??

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This guy cannot be blamed for this. Issuing an evacuation order in the middle of the night would have turned into chaos, no doubt. He chose to issue warnings and that, plus the fact that these areas were seemingly classified as "hazardous" ought to be enough. I understand that people affected have a tough time but they had a fair chance to take precautions. I also bet many of them were old ganko people like the kinds that step up onto roofs during storms. Personal reaponsibility is one of the benefits of living a free life.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When Sandy hit the East Coast in US, evacuation orders were given at least 2-3 days in advance. Who gives evacuation orders the day before or the night before? Traffic, shelter accomodation and all that logistics should have been taken into consideration way before the typhoon hit because it takes time to move people. This is typical Japan. Government has no plan, politicians can't make any "common sense" decisions for themselves. Had the government officials in East Coast acted like the major of Oshima, much more lives would have been lost and needless to say, the end of their political career. This major should take responsibility and resign.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Seems some people do not under stand the purpose of government. One is to protect the people. Seems that this at least was not done. And if you read the article and not just the headline,

Kawashima, the mayor, was also under fire for being away during the crisis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, the next typhoon, unfortunately, looks like it will be a lot stronger. It was 920 HPa, and listed as "violent," the first time I've seen that for a Japanese storm. I imagine, after all this, and if it remains on course, that they will call for an evacuation of the entire island.

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/typh/typh5.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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