Japan’s capital braces for what could be heaviest rain in 60 years

Robie de Guzman   •   October 11, 2019   •   813

A handout photo made available by NASA shows a visible image acquired from the MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Terra Satellite of Typhoon Hagibis approaching the southeast coast of Japan, 09 October 2019 (issued 10 October 2019).  EPA-EFE/NASA GODDARD MODIS RAPID RESPONSE

A powerful storm approached Japan on Friday (October 11), threatening to batter its capital with the heaviest rain in 60 years, disrupting a Formula One Grand Prix and rugby’s World Cup and raising fears of transport chaos.

Typhoon Hagibis, which means “speed” in the Philippine language Tagalog, is due to make landfall on the main island of Honshu on Saturday (October 12), a month after one of the strongest typhoons to hit Japan in recent years destroyed or damaged 30,000 houses and caused extensive power cuts.

The storm could be the strongest to hit Tokyo since 1958 and people should also prepare for high waves and storm surges, Yasushi Kajihara, forecast division director at the Japan Meteorological Agency, told media during a Friday briefing.

Rugby World Cup organisers on Thursday (October 10) cancelled Saturday’s game between England and France as well as New Zealand’s match against Italy due to the risk from the typhoon. Japanese Formula One Grand Prix organisers also cancelled all practice and qualifying sessions scheduled for Saturday.

Typhoon Hagibis is expected to pass over or get close to Tokyo and neighbouring areas including Chiba prefecture, which is still recovering from a devastating typhoon Faxai that struck a month ago. (Reuters)

(Production: Yasuteru Ueda, Kwiyeon Ha)

Tokyo residents welcome end of state of emergency

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020

People in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday (May 26) woke up to their first day with loosened social distancing curbs, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency for all areas in the country on Monday (May 25).

Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures, as well as Hokkaido were the last remaining areas under emergency.

Many residents welcomed the government’s decision to end the emergency, though most said they are still alert for the virus since more people are out on the streets.

“I’m still a bit worried. There may be a second wave of an epidemic so we still need to be alert,” said 45-year-old Naoto Furuki who said the trains were a lot more crowded with commuters this morning.

With the emergency order lifted, Tokyo will move into “stage one” of loosening restrictions, allowing libraries and museums to reopen, and restaurants to stay open until later in the evening. Subsequent stages would see theatres, cinemas and fairgrounds reopen.

Company employee Daisuke Tominaga is happy that the emergency state is over, saying that the Japanese economy will collapse if businesses and people have to continue to live under restrictions.

“I want to go out drinking and attend concerts,” he said enthusiastically.

Many shops and restaurants have restarted operations since the government began lifting the emergency in rural and suburban areas earlier this month, but some stores remain closed. (Reuters)

(Production: Kim Kyung-Hoon, Akiko Okamoto, Travis Teo)

Japan’s PM Abe extends state of emergency until end of May

UNTV News   •   May 4, 2020

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday (May 4) he has decided to extend the country’s national state of emergency to the end of the month.

Abe will consider lifting the nationwide state of emergency without waiting for its May 31 expiration if expert advisors decide that is possible based on detailed analysis of regional infection trends, he said at a meeting of the government’s coronavirus task force.

He said his advisors said that Japan had not seen the explosive surge in infections seen in some countries overseas, but the number of new infection cases had not fallen enough and there were regions where the medical system was facing strains.

For the 13 prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka that have been hardest hit, a target of reducing person-to-person contacts by 80% would remain in place, Abe said. Japan will move gradually to a framework that will combine prevention of the spread of infections with maintaining social and economic activities, he added. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Hideto Sakai)

Tokyo Olympics ‘difficult’ to host next year without vaccine, top doctor in Japan says

UNTV News   •   April 28, 2020

It will be difficult for Tokyo to host the Olympic Games next year unless there is an effective vaccine against the new coronavirus, the head of the Japan Medical Association said on Tuesday (April 28).

“I am not saying that Japan should or shouldn’t host the Olympics, but I expect it would be difficult to do so,” JMA president Yoshitake Yokokura said in a media briefing.

Yokokura also called on Japan to increase coronavirus testing, which he said was not sufficient enough to assess whether the number of cases has fallen in the country.

The one-year delay of the 2020 Olympic Games announced last month was a major blow to Japan, which had already spent $13 billion preparing for the event. As the outbreak has spread around the world, infecting almost three million people and killing more than 200,000, experts have warned that the fight against the virus could be prolonged. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai)

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