Amid the devastation caused by Typhoon Faxai in Chiba Prefecture last month, an estimated 2,000 utility poles were destroyed or damaged, severing power lines and causing large-scale blackouts in hundreds of thousands of households. It took more than two weeks to restore electricity to most of the affected areas, leaving large numbers of residents without water and power for an extended period. The prolonged outages provide yet another reason to expedite lagging efforts to bury power cables underground.

In fact, extensive and prolonged blackouts due to the havoc caused by typhoons are becoming more common as extreme weather conditions have become more frequent in recent years.

A powerful typhoon that hit the Kansai region in September last year knocked down more than 1,000 utility poles, causing blackouts for 2.2 million households. It took 17 days to get the grid fully back online. Erecting new utility poles and reconnecting severed cables is a time-consuming process.