‘Super Typhoon’ Threatens Japan, Japanese Elections

typhoon 21

The location of Typhoon 21, a “super typhoon”, as of Thursday evening, October 19. Screencap from official ANN YouTube Channel.

As Japan heads to the polls this weekend to vote in a general election, the hashtag #超大型台風 (“super typhoon”) is trending on Twitter. After a year in which unrelenting torrential rains have left dozens dead across the country, Japan is bracing for a powerful late-season typhoon and there are fears the election on Sunday, October 22 will be disrupted.

Japan Meteorological Agency: Make sure you vote early! A super typhoon is approaching!

The super typhoon is the 21st in the 2017 season as recorded by the Japan Meteorological Agency, and is known as Typhoon Lan in English-language media. By early in the morning on Saturday, October 21, the typhoon was making its way north from the Philippine Sea towards the Japanese archipelago.

A Twitter user who goes by the handle “Solo Trip to Korea” (@韓国ひとり旅) posted an updated image of the latest storm track, and how the menacing typhoon has affected their plans:

I was thinking about visiting South Korea next when a super typhoon reared its ugly head. “This is gonna be bad,” I thought and canceled my plans, rebooking for several days later.

According to forecasts, the typhoon should make landfall somewhere to the southwest of Tokyo, and then proceed northward along the Pacific coastline.

Super-typhoon” itself is a term used for typhoons that reach maximum sustained 65 m/s (150 mph), and is the equivalent of a strong Saffir-Simpson category 4 or category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic.

In September, two category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria struck Dominica, St. Martin, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and other territories in the Caribbean, causing significant damage and devastation. There are fears the same devastation may be in store for Japan.

A graphic first published by the Okinawa Times has been shared a number of times on Twitter, and explains just how big a super typhoon is—the storm has the potential to cover Japan from one end to the other:

Left image: “Large typhoon – radius of 500 km”
Right image: “Super typhoon – radius of 800 km”

Typhoon 21 is the first “super typhoon” to appear in two years. It has been six years since the last super typhoon made landfall.

While the main impact from the typhoon is expected on Monday, October 23, there are fears the massive storm will already affect voter turnout on Sunday's election.

In this election, Japan's fledgling opposition parties need to generate all of the voter turnout they can get. There are two entirely new opposition parties contesting the election on Sunday.

One of the parties, the progressive, left-leaning Japan Constitutional Democracy Party, which has rocketed to second-place in the polls, has made a plea for potential supporters to get out and vote while they still can:

We are asking everyone to get out and vote early. And please be careful on your way to the polls. #Constitutional_Democracy_Party

Article: Japan Meteorological Agency issues extraordinary alert: “vote early” as super typhoon approaches.

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