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Abe shows off disaster preparation efforts after criticism over deadly rains

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is intent on promoting his dedicated efforts toward preparing for potential disasters as powerful Typhoon Cimaron approaches western Japan, in a bid to regain trust after coming under fire for partying with his fellow party members amid a downpour warning last month.

On Aug. 23, Prime Minister Abe referred to the coming typhoon, the 20th of the year, during a meeting at the disaster response headquarters for the deadly torrential rain disaster that devastated wide areas in western Japan in July, saying, "It is feared that flooding, landslides and tidal surges may occur. I want thorough precautions to be taken (for possible typhoon damage)," Abe said.

While Abe was originally scheduled to continue to stay at his villa in the village of Narusawa, Yamanashi Prefecture, near Tokyo on Aug. 23, he returned to the capital on the night of Aug. 22 for a telephone conference with U.S. President Donald Trump. After attending the disaster response headquarters meeting on Aug. 23, Abe continued his duties at his office.

Abe and his fellow members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party drew fire after attending a drinking party at a Diet members' office building in Tokyo's Akasaka district on the night of July 5, despite a torrential rain warning for some parts of the country. The rain disaster claimed the lives of more than 220 people.

In the wake of the August 2014 deadly landslides in the northern part of the city of Hiroshima, opposition parties grilled Abe for returning to his villa after attending a disaster response meeting at his office in Tokyo. "He lacks a sense of crisis," an opposition legislator quipped.

(Japanese original by Minami Nomaguchi, Political News Department)

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