• Tokyo braces for impact as Super Typhoon Hagibis looms

    11 October 2019

    Almost one month after Typhoon Faxai battered the Tokyo metropolitan area, the city and its surrounding areas are once again preparing to face an even stronger typhoon which is forecasted to make landfall near Tokyo on the morning of Oct 12. The Category 5 Super Typhoon Hagibis has been termed “violent” – the highest classification in the typhoon scale carrying a maximum wind speed of 257 km/h – by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

    The typhoon’s intensity is expected to weaken to a wind speed of 145 km/h by the time it reaches Japan’s shores overnight on Oct 11-12. Nevertheless, JMA predicts that Hagibis will bring gale force winds, high waves, and torrential rain over parts of Honshu, particularly affecting coastal areas that face the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan.


    Super Typhoon Hagibis’ projected path over Japan and corresponding Resilience360 risk alerts; Source: Resilience360

    Port closures

    The following seaports have confirmed closures ahead of Typhoon Hagibis’ landfall. The time periods indicated in the table are approximate local times. Bunker delivery operations at Tokyo Bay and Nagoya have stopped from Oct 11 until Oct 15. Bunker prices are unlikely to be affected as suppliers have reportedly made necessary adjustments to their bunker delivery schedules.

    Port  Current status Closing date Expected reopening date
    Tokyo Closed October 11 October 13, 12:00 or October 14, 05:30
    Yokohama Closed October 11 October 13, 12:00 or October 14, 05:30
    Chiba Closed October 12 October 13, 12:00 or October 14, 05:30
    Nagoya Closed October 11 October 13, 12:00 or October 14, 05:30
    Kobe Closed October 11, 12:00 October 13, 06:00
    Osaka Closed October 11, 12:00 October 13, 06:00


    Aviation and rail disruptions

    Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) have announced cancellations of over 800 domestic flights and 72 international flights via Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports from Oct 11 to 12. Airports that are located along the forecasted path of Typhoon Hagibis are likely to face disruptions; these include Nagoya Chubu, Osaka Itami, Osaka Kansai, and Sendai airports. Singapore Airlines and EVA Airways have also canceled or rescheduled over 23 international flights to various destinations in Japan scheduled for October 12-13.

    Narita is Japan’s top air cargo hub with reported cargo volume of 2.2 million tons in 2018, with Kansai and Haneda Airports ranking second and third. While these airports have not indicated temporary closures on October 12, further flight cancellations may impede air freight shipments and cause cargo backlog of 24 to 48-hours at least until October 14.

    Reports indicate that fast speed rail services by East Japan Railway Co., Central Japan Railway Co., and West Japan Railway Co. will be suspended on October 12 in Hokuriku, Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe, Northern Kinki, San-in, and Wakayama. JR East operations may also stop both regular and Shinkansen lines in the Tokyo area on October 12-13. The Odakyu Electric Railway and Tobu Railway companies will also restrict services in the Kanto region.

    Industry impact

    The projected path of Super Typhoon Hagibis and Typhoon Faxai appear similar despite differing intensities. Nevertheless, disruptive impact can be expected as Tokyo Electric Power Company has warned residents to take measures to minimize disruptions from blackouts.

    Resilience360 data shows that facilities from four industries are clustered primarily in Kanagawa prefecture. These include, among others, Socionext Inc., a chip manufacturer; Mitsui Chemicals; Yorozu Corporation, a manufacturer of automotive and agricultural machinery parts; and Therabiopharma Inc., a biotech firm.

    Nippon Steel has already announced a temporary production halt at its plant in Kimitsu city, Chiba prefecture for safety. The firm has also decided to stop blast furnaces and repair works at its plant following infrastructural damages due to Typhoon Faxai from last month, as a result of which, the firm had stopped parts of a production line that makes alloy steel materials for automobiles.


    Engineering and manufacturing, chemicals, automotive, and life sciences & health care facilities in the Greater Tokyo area; Source: Resilience360

    As the storm’s path as well as its intensity is unpredictable and may change on short notice, Resilience360 customers with sub-tier suppliers located along the path of Super Typhoon Hagibis should prepare for contingency plans ahead of the storm. A majority of Japanese manufacturers normally shut down factories for a 24-hour period for safety during such weather conditions. However, subsequent flooding and power outages are the biggest challenges for manufacturers after typhoon passage, as inundated roads can prevent employees from commuting to business sites and production cannot be reinstated without appropriate power voltage. In addition, companies are advised to monitor updates from the Japan Meteorological Agency for information on weather-related warnings as well as to have typhoon preparedness plans on standby to deploy when necessary.

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