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China Daily Global / 2021-05 / 04 / Page004

Strong winds pummel Japanese city

By WANG XU in Tokyo | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-05-04 00:00

At least three people were injured and almost 100 buildings damaged after strong gusts of wind wreaked havoc in central Japan on Saturday evening.

According to city officials in Makinohara, Shizuoka prefecture, the three people sustained light injuries and a total of 97 structures were confirmed to be damaged. However, there were no reports of serious injuries as of Monday.

Japan's meteorological agency said the winds could have been generated by a tornado given their strength. They tore off the roofs of buildings, shattered windows and knocked vehicles on to their sides.

Residents of Makinohara have started to clear up after the winds hit and the city government has set up four temporary dump sites for broken roof tiles and other debris.

A woman in her 40s told Kyodo News how the windows rattled violently at house before she heard an unusual sound lasting about 30 seconds, saying it was "the first time I've ever experienced something like this".

"I was anxious about what would happen when the power went out soon after and everything went dark," she was quoted as saying.

Elsewhere in Makinohara, 75-year-old Kanae Endo said she had lived in her house for more than four decades and had never imagined such a thing would happen.

More than half of Endo's roof was ripped off during the gusts but she was not injured as she was staying at her daughter's home at the time.

Separately, the number of coronavirus infections in Japan surpassed 600,000 on Monday due to sharp increases in large cities like Tokyo and Osaka.

Health officials said the main factor behind the surge could be the rapid spread of variants, which can produce serious symptoms shortly after a person is infected.

Although lagging behind other advanced countries on the vaccination front, Japan's rollout of COVID-19 shots continued over a weeklong national holiday.

On Monday, Yasuhide Nakayama, Japan's senior vice-defense minister, inspected two vaccination centers in Osaka as the country plans to set up large inoculation centers in Tokyo and other big cities.

Agencies contributed to this story.


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