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Natural disasters

'Underground temple' saves Tokyo from typhoon flood

Flood-control system keeps capital from drowning after October hit from Hagibis

Excess river water flows through the Metropolitan Outer Area Underground Discharge Channel, dubbed "underground temple." (Courtesy of the MLIT Edogawa River Office)

TOKYO -- Typhoon Hagibis caused widespread damage in Japan, leaving more than 80 people dead as rivers breached levees and overflowed banks. But the capital was largely spared thanks to an elaborate network of reservoirs and drainage basins that worked overtime to minimize flooding.

Nonetheless, it was a close call. Just before noon on Oct. 12 when Typhoon Hagibis began to slam the Greater Tokyo area, river water began flowing into a cavernous channel -- dubbed "underground temple" -- in Saitama Prefecture, bordering Tokyo.

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