Airlines Cut Japan Flights as Typhoon Phanfone Hits Mainland

ANA Holdings Inc. and Japan Airlines Co., the nation’s two largest carriers, canceled almost 80 flights and rail operator stopped travel on some routes as Typhoon Phanfone reached the main islands today.

ANA grounded all domestic flights to Tsushima and Miyazaki, on the western isle of Kyushu, and warned of delays, diversions and cancellations for routes connecting with western Honshu, disruptions that may run into tomorrow, according to its website. JAL said by fax today it cut 28 Kyushu flights. More than 174 domestic flights have been effected nationwide, NHK state broadcaster said today.

Japan Meteorological Agency issued a mudslide warning for islands off the coasts of Tokyo and Kyushu’s Kagoshima prefecture. West Japan Railway Co. and East Japan Railway Co. said they won’t run two sleeper trains today, while a number of other operators including Central Japan Railway Co. said many routes faced delays, according to the companies’ websites.

Phanfone, described as “large” in scale and “strong” in intensity, with winds gusting to 216 kilometers (134 miles) per hour, is due to pass over the main islands today before dissipating by Oct. 7, the JMA said on its website. The storm is due to dump about 100 millimeters of rain on Tokyo over 24 hours, according the Transport Ministry website. All ferry services were canceled, the ministry said.

Typhoon Frequency

Japan has averaged more than 11 typhoons per year, most occurring between July and October, over the 30-year period ended in 2010, according to the weather agency. Neoguri in July left at least three dead after passing over Kyushu and skirting the nation’s Pacific coast; Halong in August disrupted travel in the nation’s southwestern region.

The search for victims of the volcanic eruption of Mt. Ontake in central Japan have been stopped by heavy rain brought by the storm, Kyodo News reported today. At least 12 people remain missing after the eruption, which has so far claimed 51 lives, Kyodo said.

In central Tokyo, the Chiyoda ward authorities said all schools will be shut tomorrow, as well as a number of other community centers. Typhoon should pass directly over the city tomorrow morning, with winds gusting to 80 knots (150 kilometers per hour) according to a forecast by U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Japan’s biggest oil refiners, which include Cosmo Oil Co., TonenGeneral Sekiyu KK, Idemitsu Kosan Co. and Showa Shell Sekiyu KK, didn’t report any disruptions to operations as of 3 p.m. local time.

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