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With the onslaught of super typhoon No. 15 on Sept. 21-22, for the second time in a little over six months Tokyo’s public transport network was snarled by a natural disaster. Several hundreds of thousands of hapless commuters found themselves stranded for hours as kitaku nanmin (“refugees” unable to return home). With train runs delayed during the peak rush hour, crowds of commuters flowed out of rail stations, jamming buses and attempting, mostly unsuccessfully, to flag down a vacant taxi.

“This time we were just lucky that flooding in the greater Tokyo area was not more extensive,” disaster journalist Minoru Watanabe tells Flash (Oct. 11), adding that both the government and private corporations have yet to learn the lessons of March 11, largely leaving the marooned masses to fend for themselves.

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