• Kyodo, Staff Report


People and businesses from central to western Japan began picking up the pieces from the passage of Typhoon Jongdari on Monday after the storm’s rare east-west trajectory took it from Mie Prefecture straight across western Japan, dumping more rain on the areas ravaged by the deadly floods and landslides earlier this month.

Thanks to early evacuations and a drop in the cyclone’s strength Sunday, damage was relatively light, with 24 people injured as of Sunday evening, a Kyodo News tally showed.

Among them were five people at a scenic restaurant on the Pacific coast that was inundated by seawater after its giant windows were shattered by a series of high waves.

Four guests aged 6 to 41 and a 20-year-old male worker at Hotel New Akao in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, were hurt Saturday evening as tidal waves spawned by the typhoon blew out five windows about 5.4 meters high and 2.2 meters wide in its restaurant on the second floor, which overlooks a narrow cove, according to the hotel and the Shizuoka Prefectural Government.

Up to 200 guests fled to a hall on the upper floor as seawater gushed in, scattering glasses, china and silverware throughout the restaurant.

Some customers screamed or cried.

“After a ‘wham!’ glasses broke and seawater came in. I didn’t expect the windows to collapse,” said a 33-year-old man from Yokohama who was staying there with his family.

“Waves came for the third or fourth time and at that moment I heard the big sound of windows breaking and saw glasses and water approaching me. They broke in a way that I recall seeing in the movie ‘Titanic,’ ” a man told a reporter from Tokyo Broadcasting System by phone, according to the broadcaster.

The windows of a hallway on the first floor were also damaged by the typhoon, but the guest rooms were unaffected.

Elsewhere in the area, the Shizuoka Prefectural Government said Sunday that high waves washed away about 20 vehicles from a first-floor parking lot at the Hotel Resorpia Atami.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, the 12th typhoon of the season was about 90 km southwest of Yakushima off Kagoshima Prefecture and moving south at 15 kph, the Meteorological Agency said. It was packing winds of up to 90 kph and had an atmospheric pressure of 994 hectopascals at its center.

The typhoon is expected to essentially hover off Kyushu Tuesday before moving toward China. In the 24 hours through 6 a.m. Tuesday, up to 250 millimeters of rain was projected to fall in Shikoku, 200 mm in Kyushu, 120 mm in the Amami Islands off Kagoshima, and 100 mm in the Tokai area, the agency said.

In the meantime, residents in flood-hit western Japan returned to cleanup and recovery work Monday. While the typhoon caused no significant damage, residents remained concerned.

“A typhoon on top of the already dreadful situation depressed me. I don’t know if I can get over the damage but I’ll just keep doing what I can,” said Toshiaki Nishitani, 70, in the town of Saka, Hiroshima Prefecture.

“I was relieved there was no further damage, but I’m worried at the same time as the typhoon season is getting into full swing,” said a 65-year-old man in hard-hit Kurashiki.

The central and local governments urged people in the disaster zone to stay vigilant against landslides and other secondary dangers.

“The effects (of the typhoon) might continue for a while. Please remain vigilant against the risk of rises in river levels and landslides, even after the typhoon has passed,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a meeting of the government’s disaster response team.

The torrential rains earlier this month killed 225 people in 15 prefectures, the National Police Agency said. There are 12 still missing in four prefectures, according to a Kyodo News.

Some 4,000 people were still in evacuation shelters as of late last week. The number had swelled to 10,862 as of 6 a.m. Monday as a result of the typhoon’s approach, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

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