Strongest typhoon in quarter century hits Japan

Japan’s weather agency has issued warnings about possible landslides, flooding and violent winds, as well as high tides, lightning and tornadoes in a swath of western Japan including the major cities of Osaka and Kyoto. (Kyodo News via AP)
Updated 04 September 2018
0

Strongest typhoon in quarter century hits Japan

  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged people to ‘evacuate early’ and ordered his government to take all necessary measures to protect residents.
  • Abe instructed his cabinet to ‘take all measures possible’

TOKYO: The strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years made landfall Tuesday, the country’s weather agency said, bringing violent winds and heavy rainfall that prompted evacuation warnings.
Typhoon Jebi, packing winds of up to 216 kilometers (135 miles) per hour, made landfall around midday in western Japan near areas still recovering from deadly record rains earlier this summer.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged people to “evacuate early” and ordered his government to take all necessary measures to protect residents.
Japan’s weather agency has issued warnings about possible landslides, flooding and violent winds, as well as high tides, lightning and tornadoes in a swath of western Japan including the major cities of Osaka and Kyoto.
With winds of up to 162 kilometers (100 miles) per hour at its center, Jebi is classed as a “very strong” typhoon, the weather agency’s chief forecaster Ryuta Kurora said.
“This is (the strongest) since 1993.”
In the hours before the storm made landfall, Shikoku, one of four Japanese main islands, was already experiencing “violent storms and the storms will get stronger and stronger,” he added.
As the storm approached, Abe called a disaster response meeting and canceled a trip to western Japan.
“I urge the Japanese people to take action to protect your lives, including preparing and evacuating early,” he said.
He instructed his cabinet to “take all measures possible.”
Local media warned that the wind speeds Jebi is packing are strong enough to bring down traditional-style wooden houses and power poles, and urged people in affected areas to avoid non-essential travel.
Evacuation advisories have been issued for more than 300,000 people in western Japan — including 280,000 in the port city of Kobe — with local officials setting up some 1,500 shelters, the central and local governments said in statements.
Primary and middle schools in affected areas are closed for safety reasons, while regional businesses also reacted quickly, with a major railway firm and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka shutting down for Tuesday.
Nearly 600 flights were canceled, including several international flights departing and arriving at Nagoya and Osaka, along with ferries connecting ports in western Japan.
Jebi has a similar trajectory to Typhoon Cimaron, which made landfall on August 23, disrupting transport links but causing limited damage and few injuries.
Japan is currently in its annual typhoon season, and is regularly struck by major storm systems during the summer and autumn.
The country has been sweating through a record, deadly heatwave that was preceded by record rainfall in parts of western and central Japan that killed over 200 people.


Ninth lawmaker quits Britain’s opposition Labour Party

Updated 22 February 2019
0

Ninth lawmaker quits Britain’s opposition Labour Party

  • Corbyn, a supporter of Palestinian rights and critic of the Israeli government, has previously been accused by some of failing to tackle anti-Semitism in the party. He denies the allegation

LONDON: British lawmaker Ian Austin resigned from the opposition Labour Party on Friday, the ninth person to do so this week, saying it was “broken” and had been taken over by the “hard left.”

Austin said he was appalled at the treatment of Jewish lawmakers who had taken a stand against anti-Semitism and that the “the party is tougher on the people complaining about anti-Semitism than it is on the anti-Semites.”

“The Labour Party has been my life, so this has been the hardest decision I have ever had to take, but I have to be honest and the truth is that I have become ashamed of the Labour Party under (leader) Jeremy Corbyn,” he told the Express and Star newspaper.

“I could never ask local people to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister.”

Corbyn has promised to drive anti-Semitism out of the party.

Austin said he did not currently have any plans to join The Independent Group in parliament, launched by seven of his former Labour colleagues on Monday and since joined by an eighth as well as three former members of the governing Conservatives.

A Labour lawmaker since 2005 and a former government minister, Austin supports Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal and is not in favor of holding a second referendum, putting him at odds with the other Independent Group members.