JAPAN

Three dead, hundreds injured as new storm batters Japan

Road, rail and air travel disrupted by fresh snowstorms

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 February, 2014, 5:07am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 February, 2014, 4:11pm
AFP

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Road, rail and air-travel services in Japan faced further disruption yesterday after a fresh snowstorm left three people dead and 850 injured following last week's deadly blizzard.

Snow began falling on Friday morning in the capital, Tokyo, and piled up to 26cm by early yesterday, a week after the heaviest snowfall in decades left at least 11 people dead and more than 1,200 injured across the nation.

A driver was killed on Friday in a crash involving his car and a truck on an icy road in Shiga, central Japan.

Meanwhile, a farmer died after a tractor overturned on a snow-covered road in southwestern Oita, according to local media.

Watch: Tokyo hit by heavy snowfall, worst in 45 years

In a separate snow-related accident, a driver was killed and three others injured on an expressway in central Shizuoka, the news reports said.

Public broadcaster NHK said some 850 people, including one in a coma, had been injured in snow-related accidents across the nation since snow hit western Japan late on Thursday.

Snow started melting and flooding some roads in downtown Tokyo yesterday, and television footage showed hundreds of passengers resting on benches and floors under blankets at the city's Haneda airport as public-transport services were suspended due to heavy snow.

At least 628 flights, mostly on domestic routes, were cancelled yesterday at Haneda and other airports in eastern Japan, NHK said, a day after more than 260 flights were grounded due to heavy snow.

Two commuter trains collided at Motosumiyoshi station in Tokyo early yesterday, leaving 19 passengers injured, officials said. The accident occurred as train services were disrupted due to the storm, but it was not clear if the collision was directly related to the bad weather. Transport authorities were investigating.

The storm also caused delays and suspensions on the shinkansen bullet-train services, and the closure of a number of highways across the country.

Some 187,000 households lost power, mainly in eastern Japan, due to snow and strong winds, NHK said.

The meteorological agency continued warning of heavy snow in eastern Japan as well as strong winds and high waves along coastal areas, which may cause snowslides.

Last week, as much as 27cm of snow was recorded in Tokyo, the capital's worst snowfall for 45 years.

While much of that snow had melted, the remains of larger piles as well as some slightly diminished snowmen were still in evidence across the city.