Heavy snowfall causes 13 dead and more than 10,000 homes without power in Japan


Recent snowfall across several regions in Japan has killed 13, injured more than 80 and left more than 10,000 households without power, says authorities.

By late Saturday afternoon, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency warned that more than 30 had been seriously injured and more than 50 sustained minor injuries.

Along the coast in northern Japan, high waves and snowstorms could cause snow as deep as 60cm (2ft), according to the Meteorological Agency.

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Train and airplane services were disrupted in northern Japan, and some parts of central and western areas experienced traffic disruption, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Snow began on the weekend of the 17 December, which left hundreds of vehicles stranded and three dead in parts of northwestern Japan such as Niigata, Yamagata and Aomori prefectures.

A local resident removes snow in Ono, Fukui Prefecture on Dec. 24, 2022. According to the Meteorological Agency, heavy snow has fallen on many parts of Japan and some western cities have renewed records. The agency has warned of blizzard conditions and high waves, which may disrupt traffic railways, and airlines systems.( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

Snow covers a statue of Ryoma Sakamoto in front of Kochi Station in Kochi City on Dec. 24, 2022. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )
Snow covers a statue of Ryoma Sakamoto

Of the three initially killed, an 85-year-old man died after falling into a ditch while removing snow in the hardest-hit town of Kashiwazaki in the port city of Niigata.

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In the northern island Hokkaido, a woman, 63, was crushed between two trucks trying to get out of the snow, and in Akita, according to official reports, a 73-year-old man fell to the ground while removing rooftop snow and died.

Self-Defence Force troops helped clear highways in Niigata, where hundreds of cars and delivery trucks were stuck in lines stretching more than 20km (12 miles), and to provide other support.

Food and other necessities were delivered to those stranded in their vehicles by local volunteers.

A snow-removing vehicle is operated in Ono, Fukui Prefecture on Dec. 24, 2022.
The white snow covers the ground in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture on December 24, 2022.( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

Weather conditions had slightly improved at the beginning of the week, with road closures being lifted on Tuesday.

But this weekend, another snowstorm has affected the region, taking the death toll up to 13.

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