Heavy snowfall wreaks havoc in Japan as cold snap sweeps

Heavy snowfall wreaks havoc in Japan as cold snap sweeps Asia – Portal

TOKYO, Jan 25 (Portal) – Heavy snow blanketed much of Japan on Wednesday, disrupting traffic, forcing hundreds of flight cancellations, disrupting train services and causing at least one person to die.

An unusually cold weather front and extreme lows sent snowfall and strong winds sweeping across Japan from Tuesday after wreaking havoc in other Asian countries earlier this week.

At least 124 people died in freezing temperatures in Afghanistan earlier this week, media reports said, while the temperature in Mohe, China’s northernmost city, fell to a record -53 degrees Celsius (-63.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday.

In South Korea, the country’s resort island of Jeju canceled nearly 500 flights to and from its airport on Tuesday amid severe winter weather.

Japan reported snow was particularly heavy on the side of the country facing South Korea, with the city of Maniwa hitting a record 93 cm (36 inches) in just 24 hours.

One person died as a result of the storm and two other deaths were under investigation Wednesday morning in connection with the storm, Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference. Further details were not initially available.

Domestic airlines, including ANA (9202.T) and Japan Airlines (9201.T), canceled 450 flights, while 490 stretches of highway were closed and 57 rail services, including a bullet train, were suspended nationwide, the transport ministry said.

Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said the second shift was suspended Wednesday at all 14 plants in Japan due to disruptions from heavy snowfall across the country.

Around 3,000 people were stranded at two train stations in the western city of Kyoto after snow and high winds forced the service to halt on Tuesday. Some passengers were forced to sleep on the floor at Kyoto Central Station. Others were stuck on at least 15 trains between stations, in some cases from late Tuesday into the early hours of Wednesday.

Strong winds linked to the storm may have caused the sinking of a Hong Kong-registered cargo ship sailing between western Japan and the South Korean island of Jeju early Wednesday. By midday Wednesday, 13 of the 22 crew members had been rescued and the search continued. Continue reading .

The bitter weather is expected to continue through Thursday.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko, Sugiyama Satoshi and Elaine Lies in Tokyo and Hyonhee Shin in Seoul, writing by Elaine Lies and Miyoung Kim Editing by Chang-Ran Kim, Kim Coghill and Christina Fincher

Our standards: The Thomson Portal Trust Principles.