Emirates cancels all flights to Japan's Kansai airport

Blanche Robertson
September 4, 2018

A powerful typhoon slammed into western Japan on Tuesday, causing heavy rain to flood the region's main offshore worldwide airport and strong winds to blow a tanker into a bridge, disrupting land and air travel.

The death toll was reportedly so large due to people failing to take evacuation warnings seriously and to make adequate preparations the second that such warnings were issued.

"Our house is right at the base of a mountain, so it's a little risky and we chose to leave", one woman told NHK.

The Houunmaru tanker was pushed by strong winds into the bridge connecting Kansai Airport to the mainland near Osaka. There were no reports of injuries.

Almost 800 flights were cancelled, along with scores of ferries and trains, NHK said.

Almost 600 flights were cancelled, including several worldwide flights departing and arriving at Nagoya and Osaka, along with ferries connecting ports in western Japan.

Tides in some areas were the highest since a typhoon in 1961, according to local reports. It was off the northern coast of Fukui on Tuesday evening with sustained winds of 126 kilometers per hour (78 miles per hour) and gusts up to 180 kph (110 mph), the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

"This is (the strongest) since 1993".

Scaffolding of a building being demolished, collapse, following a powerful typhoon in Osaka, western Japan, Tuesday, Sep 4, 2018.

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"I urge the Japanese people to take action to protect your lives, including preparing and evacuating early", he said.

He also instructed his cabinet to "take all measures possible".

The fire and disaster management agency said that evacuation advisories were issued for 1.19 million people in western and central Japan with another 16,000 people issued with stronger but non-mandatory evacuation orders. Many schools have been shut in the affected areas as well.

Based on its wind speeds, Jebi was classified as "very strong" by Japan's weather agency.

In Osaka, the Universal Studios Japan theme park and US Consulate were both closed.

High waves whipped up by the storm also flooded parts of the seaside airport, where all flights were cancelled, and the severe weather caused power outages and travel chaos across much of the country.

Video footage shows the moment the ship, which had been anchored nearby, was forced into the bridge during the strongest storm the country has seen in 25 years.

People try to hold umbrellas in strong wind triggered by Jebi in Osaka.

The heatwave in Japan this summer was part of a pattern of hotter weather in several parts of the world that scientists have blamed on a warming planet.

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