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Asia Minute: Typhoon Recovery Includes International Airport in Japan

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It’s been a tough week for natural disasters in Japan. The northern island of Hokkaido was struck by a powerful earthquake yesterday. Earlier in the week, the southern and western parts of the country were slammed by the strongest typhoon to hit the country in 25 years. That storm killed at least 11 people and the recovery will take some time. 

Typhoon Jebi was Japan’s most powerful storm in 25 years—and some of the infrastructure scars will require further attention.

The Kansai International Airport is the third-busiest in the country---and the typhoon shut it down.

The airport opened in 1994 as an engineering marvel—built on an artificial island.

It’s connected to the mainland of Osaka prefecture by a bridge—which turned out to be vulnerable when a 26-hundred ton tanker slammed into it—stranding some 5-thousand passengers on the island until they were evacuated by boat and by bus. 

Flood waters swept over runways –leaving travel plans uncertain for the immediate future.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the airport would open for domestic travel by late Friday---and for international flights “after necessary preparations are made.”

Airlines running direct flights between the Kansai International Airport and Honolulu include Japan Airlines, Hawaiian, Delta, and Air Asia.

Even after those flights resume, typhoon season will linger in Japan.

The website Nippon dot com analyzed data from the Japan Meteorological Agency.

It found Japan averages about 26 cyclones a summer—with the heaviest damages coming from those hitting in September.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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