Japan braces for 'very strong' typhoon

Saul Bowman
October 5, 2018

TOKYO - Japan issued evacuation advisories for nearly 300,000 people and cancelled hundreds of flights in the face of strong winds and heavy rain as typhoon Jebi roared north and was set to make landfall later on Tuesday.

Kyodo new agency said at least two people have been killed so far. A total of 610 people were injured in 28 out of 47 Japan's prefectures.

Almost 800 flights were cancelled, including several worldwide flights departing and arriving at Nagoya and Osaka, along with ferries, local train services and some bullet train lines.

Boats were ferrying stranded passengers from Kansai International Airport - one of the country's busiest - after thousands of people were forced to spend the night in the partially flooded facility.

Japan's JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corp shut at least one of the refining units at its 135,000 barrels-per-day Sakai refinery in Osaka in western Japan due to typhoon damage to part of the cooling tower, the trade ministry said.

Kansai International Airport is partly inundated following a powerful typhoon in Izumisano, Osaka prefecture, western Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018.

The storm, named Jebi after the Japanese word for "swallow," in Korean, ripped through western Japan after evacuation advisories were issued to more than 1 million people.

The collision happened as Japan is being battered by the largest typhoon in 25 years.

After passing over Osaka and Kyoto, Jebi began raking along the western edge of Japan as it traveled north, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

NHK public television showed passengers sitting or lying on the floor in the airport terminal in the dark without airconditioning. Businesses seeking alternate routes and tourists in a rush to get home must take a train or use highways to get to other worldwide airports, such as Narita in Tokyo, or Fukuoka on the southwestern island of Kyushu.

Elsewhere, the winds whipped away part of the ceiling from Kyoto station and peeled off multi-storey scaffolding on a building in Osaka. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged people to evacuate early and ordered his government to take all necessary measures to protect residents.

Kansai airport is critical for business as well, exporting 5.6 trillion yen ($50 billion) worth of goods, mostly computer chips, electronics parts and other machinery, primarily to Asian destinations, such as China and South Korea, but also to the USA and Europe, according to Osaka Customs. Other videos showed roofs being torn off houses, transformers on electric poles exploding and a vehicle sliding on its side across a carpark.

Television footage showed waves pounding the coastline, sheet metal tumbling across a parking lot, cars turned on their sides, dozens of used cars on fire at an exhibition area, and a big Ferris wheel spinning around in the strong wind.

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