Typhoon Hagibis is expected to wreak havoc on Japan when it makes landfall on Saturday. Classified as a “Super Typhoon” by the United States Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, it will be the strongest of the 2019 season. Horrifying forecasts have suggested that the typhoon has rapidly intensified as it passed over the Pacific. Now the storm seems to be heading straight for Japanese mainland, set to pass directly over it, causing chaos to all in its path. Japanese broadcaster NHK has reported that Japan Airlines is cancelling more than 90% of its domestic flights to and from Haneda and Narita Airports on Saturday. Though the risk of emergency is high, forecasters are exploring a number of alternative routes the typhoon could possibly take at the last minute.
Experts are warning, however, that even if the storm does not make a direct pass, damage is still likely due to its extreme size.
Packing winds of 161mph, with gusts of 185mph, Japan’s Meteorological Agency has called for residents and authorities to prepare for landfall and urged caution.
The Agency also said Hagibis is expected to reach the highest level of “violent” and is on course to “be the strongest to hit Japan this year”
With masses of British tourists currently in Tokyo for the Rugby World Cup, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued an updated warning.
In a statement to its website, it said: “Follow all official advice, stay indoors and do not attempt to travel on Saturday.
“You should check Japan Meteorological Agency’s website, NHK news and Japan National Tourism Organisation regularly for updates and follow instructions from local authorities.”
World Rugby has said that they are keeping an eye on the situation.
A World Rugby spokesperson said: “We are currently monitoring the development of a typhoon off the south coast of Japan in partnership with our weather information experts.”
To date, Saturday’s England v France match has been cancelled.
Meanwhile, airlines and airports in the region are preparing for the potentially brutal impact.
The FCO has advised that: “Transport services may be delayed or cancelled, check with your transport operator before travel.”
Japanese air carrier All Nippon Airways released a statement saying “flights on October 12 [are] likely to be cancelled”, while also encouraging travellers to exercise caution when travelling to and from airports.
Japan Airlines have also posted an advisory for customers, saying that they: “will not charge any handling fees for the changes or refunds resulting from the anticipated effects on operations caused by bad weather (typhoon, etc) or natural disasters.”
Japan still feeling the effects of an already disastrous Typhoon season.
The country was racked by Typhoon Faxai just one month ago, which took three lives and injured 60 people.
Travel was also severely affected, resulting in 100 flights being cancelled and the entire Keikyu rail line, which connects Tokyo and Yokohama to Haneda Airport, to be temporarily shut down.
According to CNN over 13,000 passengers were stranded at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport in the wake of the storm.
Preparation efforts are now being put in place in anticipation of Saturday’s storm.
Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai said in a news conference on Thursday tourists should pay attention to weather information as Typhoon Hagibis nears mainland Japan.
The ministry is encouraging them to make use of the Japan Tourism Agency’s multi-language disaster app to get information.
He added that the Immigration Services Agency will continue to update anti-disaster information on their websites and through social media.