Japan may postpone Emperor's parade in aftermath of typhoon

Debris in Date city in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, after Typhoon Hagibis struck at the weekend, leaving at least 77 dead and 1,600 houses partially or totally destroyed. Tokyo is reportedly considering postponing a celebratory parade after Emperor N
Debris in Date city in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, after Typhoon Hagibis struck at the weekend, leaving at least 77 dead and 1,600 houses partially or totally destroyed. Tokyo is reportedly considering postponing a celebratory parade after Emperor Naruhito's formal enthronement ceremony next week so that it can devote all its attention to coping with the aftermath of the typhoon.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO • The Japanese government is considering postponing a celebratory parade after Emperor Naruhito's formal enthronement next week because of damage from Typhoon Hagibis, said national broadcaster NHK yesterday.

Other events connected with next Tuesday's enthronement will proceed as planned, it added.

At least 77 people have died in the storm, which lashed wide swathes of Japan with heavy rain and high winds last week, setting off landslides and widespread flooding as rivers burst their banks.

Ten people are missing and 346 were injured.

The government is considering postponing the parade so that it can devote all its attention to coping with the aftermath of the typhoon, which has left 1,600 houses partially or totally destroyed across the nation, said NHK.

There has been no formal announcement by the government.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday visited Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, where Typhoon Hagibis caused widespread damage. Both prefectures had also been hit hard by a tsunami set off by the March 11, 2011, earthquake.

Fukushima saw the highest number of casualties from last week's typhoon, with at least 28 dead.

Emperor Naruhito is set to proclaim his enthronement to the world in a centuries-old ceremony that will be attended by some 2,500 people, including heads of state and other dignitaries from nearly 200 countries.

 
 
 

The 59-year-old acceded to the throne in May after his father, Emperor Akihito, became Japan's first monarch to abdicate in two centuries.

Meanwhile, Mercy Relief has started a public fund-raising drive to aid typhoon-hit Japan. The independent Singapore disaster relief agency yesterday said a "first responder" - one of its staff who specialises in making disaster relief assessments - was leaving yesterday for Miyagi and Fukushima.

The agency said it will be distributing hot meals to 7,000 people in the affected communities in Miyagi and Fukushima, focusing on areas suffering from water outages.

Typhoon Hagibis is one of the worst storms to have hit Japan in about 60 years. It made landfall on Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture just before 7pm last Saturday. It then headed out to the Pacific Ocean the next morning, leaving behind 170 landslides and mudflows in 19 Japanese prefectures.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2019, with the headline 'Japan may postpone Emperor's parade in aftermath of typhoon'. Print Edition | Subscribe