On October 12th, Typhoon Hagibis made landfall on the Izu Peninsula in Japan, where it caused widespread destruction. The Category 5 storm passed over Honshu, the main island, and the Tokyo metropolitan area before veering away the next morning. The storm caused heavy rainfall and flash flooding in several prefectures, which left 72 dead and 14 missing.
Hagibis follows September’s Typhoon Faxai, a Category 4 storm which caused damages in the Kanto region that residents are still recuperating from.
Public health services in Japan warned on the evening of the 12th for residents of the island to remain indoors and prepare for the storm, and public transport and facilities shuttered in advance. The Tokyo metro system received a pre-emptive shutdown, and several lines remain waterlogged in the days following the storm. Japan’s fleet of bullet trains also saw widespread damages, which will have an adverse effect on many services into the foreseeable future. According to the Washington Post’s Simon Denyer, “numerous storm levees failed in floodwaters, and 8 million residents were advised to evacuate”.
The storm de-intensified over time from Category 5 to Category 1 as it moved out over the Pacific Ocean. However, the storm’s damage was magnified by its track over highly populated areas and how late in its path it made landfall. It caused the amount of rainfall in Tokyo to be much higher than usual, and it caused an estimated $9 billion in property damage over 24 hours, a record amount of devastation.
The Japanese government has requested aid from the international community in the wake of the storm, with widespread rescue efforts still occurring over much of Honshu into the following week. Residencies around large cities and in the countryside were largely affected, and many people remain stranded in their homes in high floodwaters. Power has yet to be restored in many municipalities.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup was also meant to be hosted in Japan, but two matches were cancelled due to the weather. However, the highly anticipated Japan vs. Scotland match still occurred on Sunday the 13th, with Japan victorious 28-21.