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Japan

Kansai Airport to reopen runway flooded in powerful typhoon

Domestic and international flights to begin as soon as Monday

Typhoon Jebi inundated a runway at Kansai International Airport near Osaka on Sept. 4., bringing flights to a halt.   © Jiji

OSAKA (Kyodo) -- The operator of Kansai International Airport, the main international gateway to western Japan, said Thursday it will reopen its runway that had been closed by flooding in a powerful typhoon earlier this month.

The airport in Osaka Prefecture will resume both domestic and international flights using the runway as early as Monday, Kansai Airports said.

As Typhoon Jebi made landfall in western Japan on Sept. 4, one of the airport's two runways and a terminal building were flooded, while a tanker smashed into the sole bridge connecting the airport on a man-made island with Japan's main island and severed half of its lanes, stranding an estimated 8,000 people at the airport at one point.

The airport has since reopened but only partially, and the number of flights has remained about 20 percent of the pre-typhoon level, as most airlines had been using the flooded No. 1 terminal.

Kansai Airport has attracted a growing number of foreign passengers in recent years, particularly those from China, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries. It was used by around 80,000 passengers a day on average before the disaster.

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