Strong typhoon makes landfall near Tokyo, snarling transport

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Workers remove a fallen signboard hit by typhoon Faxai in Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture on September 9, 2019. (AFP / JIJI PRESS)
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A truck turned over by high winds lies on a highway in Tomisato on September 9, 2019. (AFP / JIJI PRESS)
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A crowd of passengers is seen as they wait for operations of train services to resume in a snarl caused by Typhoon Faxai at Urawa station in Saitama, north of Tokyo, on September 9, 2019. (Kyodo/via REUTERS)
Updated 09 September 2019

Strong typhoon makes landfall near Tokyo, snarling transport

  • Scores of train lines were stopped, snarling the morning commute for millions in the greater Tokyo area
  • Around four to five typhoons make landfall in Japan every year, but it is unusual for them to do so near Tokyo

TOKYO: A powerful typhoon that battered Tokyo overnight with ferocious winds and driving rain caused commuter chaos on Monday morning, with trains halted and more than 100 flights cancelled.
Typhoon Faxai, packing winds of up to 216 kilometres (134 miles) per hour, made landfall in Chiba just east of the capital before dawn, after barrelling through Tokyo Bay.
The transport disruptions unleashed by the storm came less than two weeks before the start of the Rugby World Cup, and delayed the arrival of the Australian team -- a reminder that Japan's typhoon season could present challenges for organisers.
Forecasters had warned of potential record wind speeds for a typhoon in the region, and non-mandatory evacuation orders were still in place at 8:00 am (2300 GMT) for nearly 340,000 people.
Authorities said more than 2,000 people had taken refuge in shelters opened to accommodate those complying with the evacuation advisories.
More than 30 people were injured in the storm, the Kyodo news agency said, including a woman who sustained serious injuries after pillars at a golf range were toppled by high winds and hit a house.
And on Sunday night, eight surfers were rescued after being swept out to sea in high waves off Shizuoka in central Japan.
Authorities said two of the surfers were sent to hospital but none of those rescued were in serious condition.

People walk through heavy rain caused by a typhoon in Tokyo on Sept. 8, 2019. (Kyodo News via AP)

The strong winds downed trees and power lines, with left 910,000 people without electricity in the Tokyo area on Monday morning, NHK said.
And at least 10 homes were damaged in Shizuoka, with windows shattered and cars flipped on their sides, local media reported.
Television footage showed a huge roof collapsing at a gasoline station in Tateyama, south of Tokyo, with pumps crushed underneath.
Elsewhere, scaffolding was torn from buildings and protective sheeting hung to keep construction debris off the streets was crumpled and torn by the storm.
While the damage was relatively light given the wind speeds, it was enough to cause chaos in the capital's notoriously busy morning commute.
The overland East Japan Railway train system was largely halted in the early hours of operation while tracks were checked for fallen trees and other debris from the storm.
"We need to inspect tracks and check if there is any damage," a train company spokesman told AFP earlier.
The storm also caused delays and stoppages on subway lines, leading to massive crowds at some stations in the busy metropolitan area that is home to 36 million people.
Bullet train services that were suspended during the storm were largely resumed, though some were operating on a reduced schedule. Some roads were blocked by downed trees.

Commuters line up at Shinjuku Station, waiting for train platforms to open on Sept. 9, 2019, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

And at least 138 domestic flights were cancelled, with the weather even delaying the arrival of the Australian rugby team due to arrive in Tokyo Monday ahead of the World Cup that kicks off on September 20.
The French team managed to sneak in just ahead of the typhoon and reach their training camp near Mount Fuji.
However, the Wallabies squad found their preparations disrupted by Faxai's arrival.
By mid-Monday morning, the storm had moved back offshore and was headed northeast away from Japan, back into the Pacific.
The weather agency warned that landslides were still possible in China as well as the northern Fukushima region as the storm headed away from land.
Japan is used to severe tropical storms and typhoons during late summer and autumn.
Strong typhoon Krosa lashed western Japan in mid-August, bringing strong winds and torrential rain that claimed one life.
And in late August, heavy rains left three people dead when massive floods also hit western Japan.
But this year, the typhoon season coincides with the Rugby World Cup, presenting a possible headache for teams and organisers.
Tournament rules say that if a pool match has to be scrapped due to extreme weather, it is classed as a draw, which could have a major impact on what is set to be a very close competition.

Philippines and India agree to strengthen defense, security ties

In this handout photograph taken and released by Indian Presidential Palace on October 18, 2019, India's President Ram Nath Kovind (C-L) attends a press conference with Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (C-R) at Malacanan Palace in Manila. (AFP)
Updated 20 October 2019

Philippines and India agree to strengthen defense, security ties

  • The two leaders agreed to strengthen maritime security ties

MANILA: The Philippines and India have agreed to boost defense and security cooperation following talks between President Rodrigo Duterte and his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind on Friday.
Kovind is in Manila as part of a five-day official visit to the Philippines that began on Thursday.
In a joint statement, Duterte said he and Kovind have committed to building a “partnership” between the Philippines and India “that enables us to face challenges to our hard-won progress, jointly and effectively.”
As Duterte welcomed India’s role in his country’s defense capability upgrade program, against the backdrop of growing security cooperation, he said they have agreed “to continue working together to fight terrorism and violent extremism and other transboundary threats.”
Kovind said “both of our countries have been victims of terrorism,” and the two leaders “committed to work closely to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms
and manifestations.”
He added: “As two vibrant democracies that believe in a rules-based international order, respect for international law and sovereign equality of nations, the Philippines and India are natural partners in the pursuit of their respective national development and security objectives.”
The two leaders also agreed to strengthen maritime security ties.
“As countries strategically located in the Pacific and Indian oceans, we affirmed our shared interest to protect our maritime commons and advance the rule of law in our maritime domains,” Duterte said.


Indian President Ram Nath Kovind said ‘both of our countries have been victims of terrorism,’ and the two leaders ‘committed to work closely to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.’

He added that they also discussed “the most pressing concerns of our region and beyond, such as maritime security and economic integration.”
Following their meeting, they witnessed the signing of maritime, tourism, science, technology and cultural agreements.
Among them was a memorandum of understanding between the Philippine Coast Guard and the Indian Navy to enhance maritime security by sharing information on nonmilitary and nongovernment shipping vessels between the two countries.
“With the signing of bilateral agreements, we have likewise widened the path toward enhancement of our engagement in maritime security, science and technology, tourism and cultural cooperation,” Duterte said.
“We hope to look back on this day as a milestone in our relations, the day when we set out to turn promise into reality, and potential into concrete benefits that bring the greatest positive impact on the lives of our peoples.”