One dead, 900 hurt in heavy Japan snowfall

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A pedestrian (L) looks at the falling snow while crossing the road in the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo on January 14, 2013. A storm system grasped central Japan on January 14, causing heavy snow fall around the Japanese capital. TOPSHOTS AFP / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA

TOKYO—Heavy snow that blanketed eastern Japan over the holiday weekend left one man dead and injured 900 others, as Tokyo commuters Tuesday took to the slippery streets.

A low-pressure system, dubbed a “bomb cyclone” by local press, dumped eight centimetres (three inches) of snow in nine hours, the heaviest snowfall in the region since January 2006, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

It left 13 centimetres of snow in neighbouring Yokohama, while mountainous areas around Tokyo saw up to 30 centimetres.

A 71-year-old man in Shiojiri city, Nagano prefecture, died after falling into an open drain as he cleared snow around his house, a fire service spokesman said.

National broadcaster NHK said at least 891 injuries had been recorded in Tokyo and the area around it, many of them elderly people who had slipped on snow-covered streets or motorists involved in accidents.

Major train services resumed operations in Tokyo, although many sections of road remained closed while crews cleared frozen snow.

All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines cancelled a combined total of 37 domestic flights while dozens of other flights experienced delays.

International operations were not severely affected by the snow, the airlines said.

On Monday, Japanese airlines cancelled more than 460 domestic flights, mainly to or from Tokyo’s Haneda airport, where runways were temporarily closed as workers removed snow.

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