Japan braces for powerful storm at peak holiday period

Japanese Meteorological Agency said the storm, Krosa, may peak at a maximum of 144km per hour. (AFP)
Updated 14 August 2019

Japan braces for powerful storm at peak holiday period

  • Japan Airlines cancelled 62 domestic flights connected to the southern parts of the country
  • Local Meteorological Agency warned that the storm may cause heavy rain and landfalls

TOKYO: Japan was bracing Wednesday for a severe tropical storm expected to bring heavy rain and strong winds during the peak holiday period, with dozens of flights and bullet train services canceled.
The storm, named Krosa, is expected to churn slowly over western parts of the country, potentially affecting millions of people returning to major cities from their hometowns after the traditional “Obon” summer holidays.
Japan Airlines scrapped 62 domestic flights to and from airports in southern Japan for Wednesday.
“All the flights from and to Miyazaki and Tanegashima airports have been canceled and partially for Amami airport,” a spokesman told AFP.
All Nippon Airways meanwhile canceled 34 flights for Miyazaki airport. Both airlines said they would decide later how many flights they will cancel for Thursday, when the storm is forecast to make landfall.
Meanwhile, West Japan Railway announced the cancelation of Thursday’s shinkansen bullet train service between Osaka and southwestern Japan.
Krosa, which is packing maximum gusts of 144 kilometers per hour, was expected to hit the southwestern Shikoku island on Thursday before moving across western Japan, the Japanese Meteorological Agency said.
The agency warned of the risk of landslides and flooding due to heavy rain.


Empty classrooms as some schools re-open in Indian Kashmir

Updated 4 min 33 sec ago

Empty classrooms as some schools re-open in Indian Kashmir

NEW DELHI: Some Kashmir schools re-opened on Monday but were largely empty following weekend clashes in Srinagar, two-weeks after India removed the restive region’s autonomy and imposed a lockdown.
The authorities said they were re-opening 190 primary schools in the city yet few children could be seen at half a dozen places visited by AFP.
Pakistan meanwhile said Indian fire across their de-facto border on Sunday killed two civilians and seriously injured a child, a day after New Delhi said Pakistani fire killed an Indian soldier.
India on August 5 ended the special constitutional status of Muslim-majority Kashmir, where a 30-year-old uprising against Indian rule has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians.
Hours before its move, India severely curtailed movement and shut down phones and the Internet, bringing in tens of thousands of troops to turn the main city of Srinagar into a fortress.
Some 120,000 extra soldiers have been deployed, a security source told AFP, joining around 500,000 already in the northern Himalayan region divided with Pakistan since 1947.
At least 4,000 people have also been detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows imprisonment for up to two years without charge or trial, government sources said.
“Most of them were flown out of Kashmir because prisons here have run out of capacity,” a local magistrate told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Authorities have declined to comment on the numbers of people behind bars. Those picked up include local politicians, activists, business leaders and lawyers.
Officials said only that the “few preventive detentions” were made to avoid a “breach of the peace,” and that there was “no centralized figure” for the total number.


On Sunday family members held a wake for timber trader Sidiq Khan, 62, who relatives said had died after suffocating from tear gas fired by security forces in Srinagar.
A senior government official told AFP that a man in his mid-60s had died, and that a post-mortem “has not revealed any external or internal marks of injury.”
After some easing in previous days, authorities on Sunday reinforced heavy restrictions after eight people were injured during protests.
The Press Trust of India news agency cited unnamed officials saying there had been clashes in a dozen locations around Srinagar on Saturday.
Around 20 percent of landlines were working on Monday, an AFP reporter said. But mobile phones and the Internet were still cut off.


In Srinagar on Monday most main streets and markets were deserted, although some roads looked busier than in recent days.
Some teachers and administrative staff made it to schools but many others didn’t. PTI also reported that only a handful of children had come.
“We didn’t receive an official notification for re-opening the school from the local government but opened it after watching the news yesterday,” a senior official at Srinagar’s Burn Hall School told AFP.
Many schools stayed shut, with guards at the gate turning away any teachers or administrative staff who turned up.
“I don’t think parents will send their children to school if they can’t communicate and check on them whenever required,” a resident of the Rajbagh area of Srinagar told AFP outside the Presentation Convent School.
“I came here after watching the news yesterday but it doesn’t look like any students have come to school today. There are many other teachers who stay farther away and haven’t made it here,” one of the teachers at a local school told AFP.