From traffic jam to flight cancellation: Heavy snow causes travel chaos in Japan

Heavy snowfall in Japan has disrupted daily life as it has been causing traffic jams and leading to the cancellation of not just flights but also trains.

Kansai Electric Power said that over 3,000 houses were left without power in the region.

Government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said that “A strong winter pressure pattern is causing heavy snow, mainly along the Sea of Japan side of the country from northern to western Japan, with some areas experiencing record snowfall.” 

“The amount of snow is expected to increase tomorrow… increased caution and vigilance are still required.”

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Meanwhile, around 130 domestic flights have been stopped by ANA Holdings, which has affected about 5,100 passengers, said Yutaka Kitahara, operations director of the company. 

Kitahara said, “As the weather situation in northeastern Japan remains unstable, there could be more cancellations to come.”   

As per public broadcaster NHK, nearly 200 passengers were snowed in overnight on a local train line in the region.

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A truck slipped near Hikone city, where 68 centimetres (26 inches) of snow fell in 24 hours due to which the traffic snarled up. This is 30 times deeper than average snowfall.

Matsuno said a major road in the Shiga region was closed “due to stranded vehicles,” with TV footage showing long lines of stationary cars that later began to move.

As Japan has tightened border controls, the country has reported only a dozen cases of community spread of the new variant. It has recorded just 231 Omicron infections in total, which include overseas arrivals, as per the health ministry of the country.  

(With inputs from agencies)

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