Typhoon stranded 17,000 at Tokyo airport: operator

A police officer ispects a fallen utility pole downed by winds caused by Typhoon Faxai in Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture on September 9, 2019. (AFP / JIJI PRESS)
Updated 10 September 2019

Typhoon stranded 17,000 at Tokyo airport: operator

  • Narita Airport was right in the line of fire of Typhoon Faxai, which brought winds of up to 207 kilometers per hour

TOKYO: Around 17,000 passengers were stranded overnight at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, an official said Tuesday, after it took a direct hit from a powerful typhoon that caused transport chaos throughout the capital.
The typhoon caused more than 100 flights to be scrapped and road and rail links to the airport were also badly affected, leaving many with no transport options to the city — 70 kilometers (45 miles) to the west.
Airport spokesman Kei Miyahara told AFP that a total of 16,900 were stuck at the airport at midnight.
“Passengers are now beginning to go home or to their final destinations as buses and trains have resumed operations,” Miyahara said early Tuesday.
Narita Airport, located in Chiba to the east of Tokyo, was right in the line of fire of Typhoon Faxai, which brought winds of up to 207 kilometers (129 miles) per hour.
Suburban trains throughout the huge Tokyo metropolitan area were not reopened until 8 am on Monday as officials checked for debris and damage. This sparked pandemonium during the notoriously busy morning commute.
The chaos came as Japan is preparing to host the Rugby World Cup later this month and with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just around the corner.
There was “minor” disruption to some teams’ schedules, admitted a Rugby World Cup spokesman, with Australia’s arrival delayed and the England team stuck for hours at the airport.
They passed the time in a particularly English way by playing cricket.
The airport said it delivered 2,000 bottles of water, 19,000 bags of crackers and 18,000 bed rolls to stranded passengers.
“We delivered information in English and Japanese on digital signs, and made announcements in four languages” including Chinese and Korean, said Miyahara.
However, there was mass frustration and passengers complained about a lack of information and long queues for taxis.
The airport operator will review their experiences and draw lessons later, Miyahara said.


UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

Updated 15 September 2019

UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

  • Johnson said he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what
  • “The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the Mail

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared himself to The Incredible Hulk in a newspaper interview emphasizing his determination to take Britain out of the European Union next month.
Johnson faces considerable legal and political hurdles but told the Mail on Sunday he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what.
“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the widely read tabloid, invoking the comic book and film character known for formidable but destructive strength.
Johnson remains defiant even though Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension to the deadline if no deal is reached by mid-October. He has also lost his working majority in Parliament and been told by Scotland’s highest court that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal.
Johnson portrays himself as more convinced than ever that Britain will break with the EU at the end of October.
He will have a lunchtime meeting in Luxembourg on Monday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to try to modify the Irish backstop that has been a main sticking point, but EU leaders did not seem impressed by Johnson’s invocation of the Hulk.
The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said the comments showed a lack of maturity.
“Even to Trumpian standards the Hulk comparison is infantile,” he tweeted. “Is the EU supposed to be scared by this? The British public impressed?“
Juncker, who has downplayed hopes of a breakthrough at Monday’s meeting, also expressed alarm that many people in Britain seem to feel a British departure without a deal with the EU would be a positive thing.
“It would be terrible chaos,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio. “And we would need years to put things back in order. Anyone who loves his country, and I assume that there are still patriots in Britain, would not want to wish his country such a fate.”
The Oct. 31 deadline looms large because Johnson has not said he will seek another extension if no deal is reached, despite legislation passed by Parliament shortly before it was suspended.
Britain’s Supreme Court this week will rule on whether Johnson overstepped the law when he shut the legislature for a crucial five-week period.
The Liberal Democrats, who have been enjoying a revival, voted overwhelmingly at their party conference Sunday to end the Brexit process entirely if they come to power.
Party leader Jo Swinson said Article 50, which triggered Brexit, would be revoked if she becomes prime minister.
The party gained an important member Saturday with the defection of Sam Gyimah, a former Conservative minister. He is the sixth legislator to switch allegiance and join the Liberal Democrats this year.
Johnson also continues to take flak from former Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the 2016 referendum on Brexit.
Cameron said in an interview published Sunday that Johnson didn’t really believe in Brexit when he broke ranks and led the campaign to take Britain out of the EU. Cameron had been expecting Johnson’s help during the hard-fought campaign.
Cameron says of Johnson: “The conclusion I am left with is that he risked an outcome he didn’t believe in because it would help his political career.”
Cameron is giving interviews to gain publicity for his upcoming memoirs.