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With torrential rain, raging rivers and submerged homes, the havoc wrought by Typhoon Hagibis was a grim reminder that extreme weather may now be the new norm in this disaster-prone nation.

It was only last month that compact Typhoon Faxai nailed the Kanto region, blowing off roofs and triggering massive blackouts in Chiba Prefecture. But the damage from giant Hagibis — which had morphed into the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane before weakening upon approach — was a double whammy for areas struggling to get back on their feet and a wake-up call on how centralized disaster planning seems to be failing Japan.

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