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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Authorities Urge Japanese to Stay Safe as Typhoon Approaches Okinawa Island

Residents of the village of Toshima, Kagoshima Prefecture, arrive at a heliport in the city of Kagoshima on Friday as they evacuate from the island in preparation for the approaching Typhoon Haishen. | KYODO


Typhoon Haishen was bearing down on the Japanese island of Okinawa on Saturday, as authorities warned residents to exercise extreme caution.

The 10th typhoon to hit Japan this year threatened to gain further strength on Sunday.

Forecasters said wind speeds near its centre could reach 300 kilometres per hour.

Authorities warned of high waves and possible flooding and storm gusts powerful enough to collapse houses.

The typhoon is expected to reach the island of Amami-Oshima on Sunday and then move toward the country’s south-western island of Kyushu, according to forecasters.

Southern areas of Kyushu could see rainfall of up to 800 millimeters by Monday evening, it said, also warning of high waves and tides.

Local authorities and operators of public transportation services stepped up precautionary steps ahead of the super typhoon.

Shelves are nearly empty at a supermarket in Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Friday afternoon as Typhoon Haishen approached. | KYODO

Kagoshima Gov. Koichi Shiota has asked the Self-Defense Forces to dispatch troops to deal with the expected disaster and has already evacuated some 200 residents, including older people and pregnant women, from the remote island village of Toshima to the prefectural capital by helicopter.

Kyushu Railway Co. said its bullet and local train services in the region may be suspended on Sunday and Monday, while West Japan Railway Co. is considering suspending Sanyo Shinkansen services between Hiroshima and Hakata stations all day Monday.

Many schools in the Kyushu region are expected to be closed Monday.

As a wide area of western Japan is likely to be affected by severe weather, six prefectures have released water at a total of 23 dams so as to prevent disaster, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged the public Friday to “evacuate promptly based on information provided by local governments, and take actions to protect lives.”

He added that 22,000 SDF members were ready to be deployed for rescue operations if necessary. (dpa/NAN)

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