JNTO Issues Travel Update on Japan Floods A resident is rescued in a flooded area in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture, following heavy rains. // Photo by Shohei Miyano/Kyodo News via AP, File, Newscred The Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) has issued an update for travelers regarding the deadly floods which have struck the country over the past week. The floods have caused some flight disruptions, as well as disruptions to train service. In terms of air travel, temporary buses have been launched between Hiroshima Airport and Higashi Hiroshima station until normal train and bus operations can resume. Other airports are mostly operating as usual, though there are some flight delays and cancellations due to the heavy rain, the JNTO said. In terms of train travel, Sanyo and Tokaido Shinkansen, and the trains in Kansai (including limited express Haruka), and the Hokuriku area are operating normally, the JNTO said. There are cancellations, delays and suspensions on some routes, especially in the Chugoku and Shikoku areas. A number of highways, such as Sanyo Expressway, Chugoku Expressway, Kochi Expressway, Kyushu Expressway and Higashi Kyushu Expressway, are also closed. CNN reports that the flooding has thus far killed 200 people, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters to hit the country since the 2011 tsunami. Around 21 people are also unaccounted for. The rain, which began last Thursday and Friday and intensified over the weekend, resulting in up to 20 inches of rain through Sunday alone. Additionally, since much of the rain fell over the mountainous area, the terrain funneled the water downward, causing flash floods. Hard-hit areas include Saga, Fukuoka, Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Ehime, Kochi, Okayama, Hyogo, Kyoto, Shiga and Gifu. Up to 75,000 rescue workers have been deployed to the area, and the UN has promised additional assistance. Further safety tips for travelers from the JNTO are available here .
Tensions are high between the two countries over the threat of tariffs. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is set to impose tariffs on $34 billion worth of additional goods from China on Friday citing unfair Chinese trade practices, and has threatened successive waves of duties on up to $450 billion in Chinese imports. China has vowed to retaliate in kind with its own tariffs on U.S. agricultural products and other goods and to take more “qualitative” measures if Trump escalates the conflict. China’s Foreign Ministry, when asked on Tuesday if the timing of the alert was politically motivated, said the summer was the high season for Chinese going to the United States and that Chinese embassies had an obligation to warn citizens about potential risks abroad. “This kind of reminder from the Chinese Embassy in the relevant country, I think this is absolutely a matter that is in the scope of our duty,” ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news briefing. There was little mention of the latest embassy alert on Chinese social media. China frequently issues travel warnings for Chinese abroad, generally in war-afflicted regions. But some foreign governments have argued that Beijing uses other means, such as curtailing outbound tourism, to settle political or trade scores, though the Chinese government typically denies such issues are linked.