More than 900 flights have been canceled and train operators warned of major disruptions as the country braces for a powerful typhoon that is forecast to pass close to eastern Honshu on Saturday.
As of 9 a.m. Friday the large and violent Typhoon Hagibis, currently located about 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of Chichijima, in the Ogasawara Islands, was moving north-northwest at 25 kph (15 mph). It was packing winds of up to 252 kph (157 mph), and could make landfall around Tokyo on Saturday.
The Meteorological Agency warned Friday that houses could collapse if strong winds of up to 216 kph (135 mph) buffet the Tokai region and the Kanto-Koshin area, including the Tokyo metropolitan area, on Saturday.
Local authorities are also on alert for possible flooding because the storm could make landfall at the same time as it is high tide in Tokyo Bay. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe requested his Cabinet to take all measures to prepare for the typhoon.
The typhoon, which was downgraded to Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale used in the U.S., has also forced organizers of the Rugby World Cup to cancel two games scheduled for Saturday.
Here’s how the storm is impacting the country so far:
- Japan Airlines Co. canceled several flights on Friday, and most flights, both domestic and international, will be canceled Saturday except for a few early morning flights.
- ANA Holdings Inc. said it canceled all its roughly 370 domestic flights scheduled for Saturday, and almost all international flights.
- East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central) and West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) said they will suspend most of their bullet train services Saturday.
- JR East also said Friday it will suspend local train operations Saturday, with the time to start the suspension differing according to the lines.
- Nippon Steel Corp. said it has decided to halt production at its main factory in Kimitsu, Chiba Prefecture, which was partly damaged by Typhoon Faxai last month, broadcaster NHK reported.
- Ito-Yokado, operated by Seven & i Holdings Co., said it will close a total of 124 supermarkets in eight prefectures, mainly in the metropolitan area, on Saturday.
- Rugby World Cup games pitting England against France and New Zealand against Italy have been called off, meaning both matches will be considered scoreless draws. A final decision on Sunday’s games, including a crucial match between hosts Japan and Scotland, will be made that morning.
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