Japan Storm Kills Four People, Disrupts Flights, Mobile Networks

Four people were reported killed and another 400 injured in the storm that pummeled Japan yesterday and continues to disrupt airline flights, trains and mobile-phone networks in the north of the country today.

All Nippon Airways Co. scrapped 39 flights, it said in a faxed statement. Japan Airlines Co. canceled 24 domestic flights, it said in a faxed statement, as well as four international services, according to Seiji Takaramoto, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based carrier.

Northern Japan is forecast to be hit by winds of up to 90 kilometers an hour (56 miles per hour), according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. East Japan Railway Co., the nation’s largest rail operator, canceled trains on dozens of lines in the north, according to its website.

“People should take care in northern Japan as the winds are still strong there,” said Maki Wakahara, a spokeswoman for the Japan Weather Association. Public broadcaster NHK reported the current deaths and injuries from the storm on its website.

Tohoku Electric Power Co. is working to restore electricity to more than 216,000 homes in northern parts of the country including Akita and Niigata prefectures, the company said in a statement on its website. The loss of power knocked out mobile-phone base stations, leaving users unable to make calls or send e-mails, NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp. and Softbank Corp., Japan’s largest mobile phone operators, said.

Oil Refineries

Oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co. resumed loadings and unloadings today at its Aichi and Tokuyama refineries, which were suspended yesterday because of the storm, Kei Uchikawa, a company spokesman, said by phone.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp., Japan’s largest refiner, stopped loadings at its Kashima refinery in eastern Japan today, while it resumed operations at its Mizushima, Oita and Marifu refineries in western Japan, said a company official, who declined to be identified, citing internal policy. Berthing operations at its Negishi plant near Tokyo are still suspended, the official said.

Cosmo Oil Co. resumed operations at its Chiba and Yokkaichi refineries after the storm forced a halt to fuel loading and unloading from barges, said Katsuhisa Maeda, a company spokesman.

Thousands of employees in the Tokyo metropolitan region at companies including Sony Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. left work early yesterday to try to avoid train cancellations as the storm approached the capital with sustained winds forecast at 90 kph, which would have been the strongest to hit the city in more than 50 years.

The sustained wind speeds in the center of Tokyo last night was lower than forecast at 54 kph, with gusts reaching up to 107 kph. The storm dumped 21.5 millimeters of rain on the city, according to the meteorological agency.

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