Transportation in Japan Comes to a Halt as Typhoon Approaches Tokyo
Japan Airlines aircrafts are parked on the tarmac at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Toru Hanai / Reuters
Japan’s vulnerability to natural disasters was one of the only deterrents in Tokyo’s selection as the 2020 Olympic host. Any storms in the years prior to the games should be used a trial run for what to do should nature impact the event.
Japan braced for Typhoon Wipha, projected to become Tokyo’s biggest storm in about 10 years, as ANA Holdings Inc. and Japan Airlines Co. canceled 34 domestic flights today and train companies may suspend services tomorrow morning, affecting millions of commuters.
Wipha, the 26th typhoon of the season to approach Japan, was traveling north-northeast at 35 kilometers (22 miles) an hour as of 3:50 p.m. Tokyo time, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency’s website. The typhoon will reach maximum gusts of 198 km per hour as of 3 a.m., when it will be about 170 kilometers west of Hachijo-jima Island, south of Tokyo, according to estimates from the agency.
Trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange will operate as normal tomorrow, according to a statement from the bourse. Schools in the central districts of Shinagawa, Shibuya and Minato will be shut. East Japan Railway Co. canceled 16 bullet trains tomorrow, it said in a faxed statement. The storm is expected to pass through the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in northeast Japan tomorrow afternoon.
“The typhoon may be a once-in-a-decade event in the Kanto region, the strongest since typhoon No. 22 in 2004,” public broadcaster NHK reported, citing Japanese Meteorological Agency official Hiroyuki Uchida. “It’s expected to come very close to the Kanto area tomorrow morning and may make landfall there.”
ANA canceled 12 domestic flights, affecting about 1,000 people, spokesman Takashi Abe said by telephone today. Japan Airlines pulled 22 flights, affecting about 2,625 people, it said in a faxed statement today.
Business hotels around Tokyo Station filled up fast as office workers looked for rooms so that they could make it into work tomorrow.
“I was looking for a business hotel since the morning, but it was no good,” said Michiyoshi Kato, senior vice president of foreign-currency sales at Mizuho Bank Ltd. in Tokyo. “I had to settle for a capsule hotel in Kanda,” one-stop away from Tokyo.
Earlier this month Typhoon Danas, which recorded gusts of 180 km per hour, tore through southern Japan, wrecking a town hall and forcing refinery operations to stop. Flights and ferry services were suspended.
With assistance from Eijiro Ueno, Anna Kitanaka, Gearoid Reidy, Hiroko Komiya and Kiyotaka Matsuda in Tokyo. Editors: Teo Chian Wei and Brian Fowler.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Cooper in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Teo Chian Wei at email@example.com.