Power was cut to about 800,000 households in Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture on Monday afternoon after an Air Self-Defense Force jet severed a power line before it crashed, killing its two crewmen.

The T-33 trainer jet crashed into a field near Kashiwabara Junior High School in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, at 1:46 p.m. and burst into flames. The two ASDF crewmen aboard — Lt. Col. Hirofumi Nakagawa, 47, and Maj. Yoshihiro Kadoya, 48 — died in the crash, police said.

The crash site is about 3.6 km north of the ASDF Iruma base where the trainer jet was stationed, and the jet had entered its final approach when it crashed, they added. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

No one on the ground was injured, but the severed transmission cable caused a power failure in broad sections of Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

Households in Tokyo’s Itabashi, Toshima, Nerima, Minato, Setagaya and Chuo wards, and cities in southern Saitama Prefecture were affected by the blackout.

Electricity returned to most households by 3 p.m., but the blackout continued until later in the afternoon in the Saitama cities of Iruma, Sayama and Kawagoe, affecting about 57,000 households, the power company said.

The power supply was fully restored shortly after 5 p.m., when Tepco switched to an alternative transmission route.

Defense Agency chief Tsutomu Kawara held a news conference in the afternoon and apologized for the power outage.

The outage interrupted operations of some subways and trains in the metropolitan area, including those on the Tobu-Tojo Line, Seibu-Shinjuku Line and JR Musashino Line.

Some 500 traffic signals in Tokyo and 140 in southern Saitama were also temporarily down, although police said no major traffic disruptions were reported.

People were also trapped inside elevators halted by the outage at 15 locations in Minato and Setagaya wards and Musashino city, police said.

At the Ikebukuro outlet of Tobu department store, several customers were trapped inside two elevators as the whole building suffered a temporary blackout. Although emergency lights soon came on, workers had to manually open the elevator doors to let the customers out.

Nihon University’s Itabashi Hospital suffered a blackout for 20 minutes after the crash, but its medical equipment continued to function as the alternative power supply was immediately switched on, hospital officials said.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange suspended trading in futures on government bond options at 2 p.m. for about half an hour because of the power failure. Cash dispensers at some banks were also temporarily out of service.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.