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Domestic flights at Japan's Kansai airport to resume on Friday

Staff Writer |
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that domestic flights at the typhoon-damaged Kansai International Airport in western Japan will restart on Friday and international flights will resume as soon as the airport is ready.

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Kansai International Airport, Japan's third-largest, located on a man-made island in Osaka bay, was flooded Tuesday owing to Typhoon Jebi, the most powerful typhoon that made landfall in Japan in 25 years.

The typhoon left 11 people dead and more than 600 injured.

Some 5,000 people, including 3,000 passengers and 2,000 airport staff were stranded at the Kansai airport for one time as a bridge that served as the only road and rail access to the airport from the mainland was severely damaged as the powerful typhoon ripped a tanker from its moorings and rammed it into the bridge.

Thousands of stranded passengers were evacuated Wednesday from the airport by ferries and evacuation work was expected to continue through Thursday.

According to China's consulate-general in Osaka, a total of 1,044 Chinese passengers stranded at the airport had been evacuated by Thursday morning.

Airport officials said Wednesday the airport could remain closed for as long as a week if the damage is serious.

Local economy is also expected to suffer a blow as the airport is a major hub for tourists and for shipping cargo overseas and manufacturers have to find alternatives for transportation.

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