August was marked by numerous typhoons, from Typhoon Lekima that hit the Philippines to Typhoon Lingling in South Korea. As September rolled in, meteorological centres were kept on high alert as Typhoon Faxai developed and headed towards Japan. Experts had accurately predicted that it would have wind speeds of up to 216km/h and would reach coastal regions near Tokyo. They also raised concerns over the risk of highwaves, landslides and flooding. This prompted authorities to issue evacuation warnings, assisting over 100,000 residents.
Typhoon Faxai is one of the strongest ever recorded typhoons to hit and make landfall within the Kanto Region of Japan. Starting out as a tropical depression on 29 August, Typhoon Faxai matured into a typhoon by 6 September. It then intensified into a Category 4 Typhoon over two days before striking Japan. Three people were killed by the direct impact of the storm with two more killed by heat strokes caused by the power outages.
The typhoon paralysed major transportation networks in metropolitan Tokyo and Yokohama, as well as at Narita Airport, affecting some three million commuters during Tokyo’s rush hour. Train services were gradually resumed as works to remove debris and fallen structures went underway, but major stations remained flooded with commuters for most of the day. At Narita Airport, Japan’s second busiest airport, some 13,000 travelers were left stranded overnight as airport services and flights were disrupted.
Nearly four days after the typhoon made landfall, nearly 300,000 households in Chiba Prefecture still remain stranded without electricity, including some 30,000 households without water supplies. Donated relief from different parts of Japan is just beginning to arrive at the badly affected towns in Chiba Prefecture. Japanese telecommunication carriers, in light of affected mobile services, are also providing free Wi-Fi for locals.