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  • Peter Kam Fai Cheung SBS

Fingers Crossed

When I booked my inexpensive September tour to Japan in April 2018, I had no idea what might happen five months later. While keeping my fingers crossed, I have also prepared for the worst that I might skip the trip if I have better things to do. Having got something solidly done on September 3, I thought time was right for me to have a break.

Soon, I realized that I was not going to Japan alone, as typhoon Jebi would join me. My September 4, 02:00 flight was bumpy when we were close to each other, but then the micro jet speed surpassed it and the plane landed on dry ground. When I was in Asakusa, I felt Jebi's might - its gale-force winds could batter raindrops into watery powders!

Later from TV breaking news, I saw the unprecedented damage that Jebi had caused to the Kansai Airport on its otherwise uneventful 24th anniversary. The morning after in Tokyo was surprisingly fine for tourists like me - blue sky and bright sun. While everything was right for me, I knew lives were difficult for those who got trapped because of Jebi.

The geo-technical risk of the Kansai Airport was not unforeseen and the Japanese building code is meant to be performance-based. I believe for the sake of life safety and damage control, built infrastructure should be able to withstand any once-in-a-life-time happening. Keeping fingers crossed has no place in any public policy, anywhere!

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