Weakening Typhoon Slams Southern Japan – Nationwide
A weakening typhoon ripped into southern Japan on Sunday, dumping torrential rain, grounding hundreds of domestic flights and halting train services. Typhoon Talim made a landfall in Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands, packing winds of up to 162 kilometers per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
At least 644 domestic flights have been cancelled because of strong winds, according to public broadcaster NHK, while all major regional train services have been suspended, operator JR Kyushu Railway said. Authorities have issued warnings of rainstorms, high seas, possible landslides and flooding across the southern half of the Japanese archipelago. The meteorological agency said the typhoon was expected to become a tropical storm and head northwards, dumping heavy rain across a large area, including on Tokyo. The typhoon had earlier battered the southern Okinawan island chain, dumping the most rain seen over a 24-hour period in 50 years on the city of Miyako, before it hit Kyushu.
The Kyushu region was hit by downpours from the early hours of Sunday, with up to 120 millimeters in an hour measured in Saiki, Oita Prefecture. Kochi Prefecture in the Shikoku region saw hourly rainfall of over 80 mm, Kyodo reported. Evacuation orders were issued for residents in parts of Oita, including the cities of Saiki and Usuki, covering nearly 60,000 people, according to the prefectural government.
Japan Tries Driverless Buses to Keep Rural Elderly on the move – Tochigi
As the annual rice harvest begins this month in the Japanese town of Nishikata, the combines that usually putter along the sleepy roads lining its rice fields are giving way to a vehicle residents have never before seen, a driverless shuttle bus. Japan is starting to experiment with self-driving buses in rural communities such as Nishikata, 115 km north of the capital, Tokyo, where elderly residents struggle with fewer bus and taxi services as the population ages and shrinks. The swift advance of autonomous driving technology is prompting cities such as Paris and Singapore to experiment with such services, which could prove crucial in Japan, where populations are not only greying, but declining, in rural areas.
Japan could launch self-driving services for remote communities by 2020, if the trials begun this month prove successful. The government plans to turn highway rest stops into hubs from which to ferry the elderly to medical, retail and banking services.
Policeman Indicted for Killing Wife to be charged with Murder of his two Children as well – Fukuoka
Prosecutors in Ogori, Fukuoka Prefecture, plan to charge a policeman — already indicted for murdering his wife in June — with the murder of their two children. Mitsuru Nakata, a 38-year-old sergeant with the Fukuoka prefectural police, was initially arrested on suspicion of strangling his wife Yukiko, also 38, shortly after midnight on June 5, according to the indictment.
Investigative sources said Nakata has continued to deny the allegation. Nakata, who works for the prefectural police’s communications dispatch division, was arrested on June 8 after the police recovered biological evidence from one of the wife’s fingernails, suggesting she scratched him in a struggle, they said.
The sergeant has told investigators that he left for work early on June 6. He was living in the house with his wife and their son Ryosuke, 9, and daughter Miyu, 6. The victims’ bodies were found after his wife’s sister visited their home. The sister found the wife lying face up in the kitchen on the first floor, while the two children were found dead in their bedroom on the second floor. Given that the house was filled with smoke, the police suspect Nakata attempted to burn it to destroy evidence.
Prosecutors said they now believe they have enough evidence to charge Nakata with the children’s murders also, but did not specify what the evidence is.