Heavy snowfall in Japan leaves 17 dead and dozens injured

Heavy snowfall across large swaths of Japan has killed 17 people and injured more than 90 and left hundreds of homes without power, disaster management officials said Monday.

Powerful winter fronts have dumped heavy snow in northern regions since last week, blocking hundreds of vehicles on highways, delaying delivery services and killing 11 people on Saturday. Further snowfall over the Christmas weekend brought the death toll to 17 and the injured to 93 on Monday morning, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. Many of them had fallen while clearing snow from roofs or were buried under thick piles of snow sliding off roofs.

Municipal offices in snowy regions have urged residents to exercise caution during snow removal activities and not to work alone.

Many areas in northeastern Japan reported three times their average snowfall for the season.
PA

The disaster management agency said a woman in her 60s was found dead buried under a thick pile of snow on the roof that suddenly fell on her in the town of Nagai, in the prefecture of Yamagata, about 180 miles north of Tokyo, where snow piled up to more than 2.6 feet on Saturday.

In Niigata, known for growing rice, some makers of mochi or sticky rice cakes that are the staple of New Year’s meals said there had been delays in delivery and their mochi could fail to reach their customers on time.

Many areas in northeastern Japan reported three times their average snowfall for the season.

A resident shovels snow around a car in a parking lot in Hokkaido prefecture, northern Japan.
Dozens of trains and flights have also been suspended due to weather conditions.
PA

Heavy snowfall toppled an electricity transmission tower on Japan’s northernmost main island, leaving around 20,000 homes without power on Christmas morning, although power was restored to most regions later in the day, according to the Ministry of Economy and Industry.

Dozens of trains and flights were also suspended in northern Japan until Sunday, but services have since mostly resumed, according to the transport ministry.

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