Typhoon Wipha, the 26th typhoon of the year, has left at least 51 people dead or missing on Tokyo's Izu-Oshima Island. It is regrettable that even though it was known early on that the typhoon would be very strong, sufficient preparations were not taken to minimize damage and casualties. The central government and the Oshima municipal government must carry out an investigation to determine what mistakes were made and publicize the results.

Wipha, the strongest typhoon in 10 years, brought powerful winds and torrential rains on Oct. 16 to the 91.06 sq.-km island, which lies 120 km south of Tokyo and has a population of just over 8,300. Many houses were washed away or buried in mud.

Some 1,100 personnel including firefighters, police and Self-Defense Force troops were sent in after the disaster. But soil conditions made it almost impossible to use heavy machinery, slowing efforts to reach and rescue or recover victims.