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Many schools restart in Chiba week after powerful typhoon

A teacher speaks to his class at an elementary school in Yachimata, Chiba Prefecture, as classes resumed on Sept. 17, 2019, after a weeklong closure due to widespread blackouts caused by Typhoon Faxai. (Kyodo)

CHIBA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Many elementary and junior high schools in Chiba Prefecture reopened Tuesday after a weeklong closure due to widespread blackouts caused by Typhoon Faxai.

In Yachimata, all 13 public elementary and junior high schools reopened, although around 6,000 households remained without electricity. Three elementary schools secured electricity from power generator vehicles.

As of 9 a.m., about 64,000 households in the prefecture near Tokyo were without power, while 14 schools were still unable to restart classes, according to local officials. As of Friday morning, about 100 schools had been closed.

Industry minister Isshu Sugawara told a press conference Tuesday that electricity is expected to be restored almost completely by Sept. 27.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said the central government will use 1.32 billion yen ($12 million) from a state reserve fund to support recovery of the typhoon-affected areas.

"We will continue providing assistance swiftly to disaster victims," Aso told a press conference.

According to the Yachimata city government, public elementary and junior high schools had been closed since Sept. 9, when Faxai made landfall in the prefecture, becoming one of the strongest recorded typhoons to hit the Kanto region of eastern Japan.

Air conditioners at all of the schools in Yachimata, including ones relying on electricity from power generator vehicles, can be now used, according an official at the city government.

The schools will also provide lunches, but are unable to serve milk as production has been disrupted due to the power outage.

"It was a relief to hear the voices of the children again," said Hitoshi Morisawa, principal of Koshin Elementary School, where about 210 students returned. "I am thankful that a power generator vehicle came."

In Tateyama, 13 of 14 public elementary and junior high schools had restarted by Tuesday. One of the junior high schools was unable to reopen due to a rain leak caused by heavy downpours on Monday.

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