Extreme Weather Events Affect Japan

Extreme Weather Events Affect Japan

During September and October, Japan was hit by two powerful typhoons, Faxai and Hagibis. Both were among the strongest storms to hit Kanto, a region in central Japan where Tokyo is located, in decades: the winds sped up to 225 km/h and rain approached to 1 meter within 24 hours in some places [1].

The storms inflicted devastating human and financial cost upon Japan. Christian Aid’s report, “Counting the Cost 2019: a year of climate breakdown”, identifies fifteen extreme weather events that cost more than $1 billion in 2019. Among the fifteen, seven events cost more than $10 billion. The wildfires in California topped the list for $25 billion in damage, and Typhoon Faxai and Hgibis in Japan came second with $20 billion.

The two typhoons left more than 10 million homes without power, at least 100 people dead and caused widespread disruption in transport including the Rugby World Cup being held at the time in Tokyo. The most devastating impact was felt in agriculture: direct damage to agricultural production solely costs 1 billion, with damage on agricultural facilities and farm disruption costing a whopping 12 billion, and forestation and fishery costing 6 billion and 1 billion each. [2]

According to scientists, these typhoons are direct consequences of climate change. Higher-than-usual sea water temperature due to climate change created more moisture, allowing typhoons to reach Japan without losing their strength when moving from the Asian continent.[3] It is known that “the warmer the ocean gets, the stronger tropical cyclone intensify”.[4] The strong wind and hard rains of Faxai and Hagibis exemplify such features.

The consequence of climate change in Japan is not limited to ever-intensifying typhoons but also extreme temperature: the average temperature across Japan in the year 2019 was 0.92 degrees Celsius higher than normal years, and the snowfall is being recorded as 70% of that of normal year. [5] However, the government is not doing enough to mitigate climate change nor actively committing itself to the Paris Agreement. [6]


Activity Rating: ** Standing Still

Considering the size of the country and the number of its population, having the second biggest climate-related financial cost in the world can be considered significant. The fact that the government is not doing more to mitigate climate change is unfortunate.


Take Action

Message:

Dear Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Liberal Democratic party: It is becoming more and more apparent that climate change is starting to have a real devastating impact on the Japanese people. Although it is understandable that it is difficult to carry out structural change in the energy sector and industry in general with respect to the profitability of business community, it is time that the government raise awareness and mobilize sense of urgency among people, and move forward with environmental protection measures. We would like to urge politicians to not cowardly ignore what is happening to nature and the people, and have courage and face the climate change problem. 

Contact Information:

+81-3-3581-6211

https://www.jimin.jp/voice/


Resources

[1] Counting the cost 2019: a year of climate breakdown, Deceber 2019, https://www.christianaid.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-12/Counting-the-cost-2019-report-embargoed-27Dec19.pdf

[2] JIJI.com 農林水産被害、2500億円超, https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2019110500926&g=eco

[3] NHK World-Japan, Surge in typhoons reaching Japan in 2019, sat dec 28, 2019, https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191228_13/

[4] Counting the cost 2019: a year of climate breakdown, Deceber 2019, https://www.christianaid.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-12/Counting-the-cost-2019-report-embargoed-27Dec19.pdf

[5] NHK World-Japan, Surge in typhoons reaching Japan in 2019, sat dec 28, 2019

[6] The Japan times, Japan tops Global Climate Risk Index as extreme heat hits countries both rich and poor, dec 5, 2019 https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/12/05/world/science-health-world/japan-tops-climate-risk-index/#.XiM_Fhf0nOQ


This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Japan Country Manager Yukiko Nukina

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