Typhoon Wipha, the 26th to visit the country this year, is expected to shower the Japanese capital of Tokyo with heavy rains as it travels northeast at 35 km/h (22 mph), with wind speeds as high as 200 km/h (124 mph). Local governments have already issued warnings to residents, while others have suspended school classes on Wednesday.
According to a spokesman from the Japan Meteorological Agency, Typhoon Wipha is a “once in a decade event” and is expected to bring in floods and gales. It is also considered the strongest to hit Japan since October 2004, which caused landslides and resulted in almost one hundred lives lost.
Meanwhile, local education boards have already suspended classes, although there are some that have yet to assess the typhoon’s potential effect in their areas. All public schools through high school level have been closed in the Tokyo wards of Minato, Shinagawa, and Suginami for Wednesday classes. “We made the decision because we’ve come to the conclusion that schools should adopt a coordinated response because the typhoon is powerful,” an official of the Minato Ward Board of Education said. The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education has not yet issued any suspension of classes. According to a board official, “If transportation systems are affected by the typhoon, we’ll have to take some action as a safety precaution.” Cancellation of classes will be decided at around 7:00 AM on Wednesday.
Some operators have also cancelled their airline and train services to avoid damages and loss. Japan Airlines cancelled 183 domestic flights scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday. Most are supposed to come from the Haneda Airport. Meanwhile, All Nippon Airways have cancelled 210 domestic and 3 international flights, which are expected to affect 60,850 passengers. Night trips connecting Tokyo’s Ueno Station with Aomori and Sapporo, both in the north, were cancelled by East Japan Railway Co. on Tuesday, while a task force will be assigned to gather information regarding the typhoon. More than the information, it’d be better if the task force created would include safety precautions disseminated to people.
Even oil refining companies – Cosmo Oil Co., Fuji Oil Co., Idemitsu Kosan Co., and JX Holdings Inc. – announced suspension of their shipments as Typhoon Wipha threatens the eastern region of Japan. Meanwhile, Nissan Motor Co. has already cancelled its Wednesday morning shift at its plants in Oppama and Yokohama.