• Kyodo


The land ministry will suspend water restrictions in Tokyo and its five neighboring prefectures following the heavy rains brought by Typhoon Pabuk, ministry officials said Thursday.

On Aug. 10, Tokyo, Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures were ordered to reduce their water intake by 10 percent due to low water levels behind eight dams on the upper reaches of the Tone River.

It was the first summer water restriction involving the Tone River since the nationwide drought of August 1996.

The restrictions were temporarily eased Aug. 14, however, and officials of the Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Ministry said they will officially be lifted when it dissolves the regional drought task force next week.

According to the officials, the eight dams, including the Yagisawa Dam in Minakami, Gunma Prefecture, had 217.12 million tons of water, or 63 percent of capacity, as of 9 a.m. Thursday, compared with 175.36 million tons, or 51 percent of capacity, at 9 a.m. Tuesday, before the heavy rain began, the officials said.

The Tone River, which flows through the Kanto region, has the largest drainage basin and is an important source of drinking and industrial water for the metropolitan Tokyo area.

Pabuk — the 11th typhoon of the season — weakened to become an extratropical cyclone by Thursday morning and was headed north along the coast of Hokkaido, the Meteorological Agency said.

The storm brought rain over Hokkaido and other northeastern areas in the morning but was forecast to soon pass over the Sea of Okhotsk, north of Hokkaido, the agency added.

Most of the rest of Japan had sunny weather Thursday, with the temperature in Tokyo reaching 33, 2.5 degrees higher than the average.

The warm, humid air brought by the typhoon raised temperatures nationwide, the agency said, interrupting the relatively cool weather enjoyed in eastern and northern Japan so far month.

Shinkansen and other train lines that were disrupted Wednesday were back to normal.

According to a Kyodo News survey of typhoon-related accidents as of noon Thursday, Kanagawa, Aichi, Mie, Shiga, Osaka, Tokushima and Ehime prefectures had one fatality each and Tokyo reported one missing person. Forty people have been injured in 12 prefectures.

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