Snowfall in Japan leaves 17 dead and dozens injured

TOKYO (HPD) — Heavy snowfall across large swaths of Japan has killed 17 people, injured more than 90 and left hundreds of homes without power, disaster management authorities said Monday.

Strong winter fronts have dumped snow on northern regions since last week, stranding hundreds of vehicles on roads, delaying delivery services and causing 11 deaths as of Saturday.

More snowfall over Christmas weekend brought the death toll to 17 and the number of injuries to 93 on Monday morning, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. Many of them suffered falls while clearing snow from roofs or were buried under thick piles of snow that slid from roofs.

Municipal authorities in snow-affected regions urged the population to be careful during snow removal activity and not to work alone.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said a woman in her 70s was found dead buried under a thick pile of snow that suddenly fell on her in the Yamagata prefecture city of Nagai, about 300 kilometers (180 miles ) north of Tokyo, where snow accumulated to more than 80 centimeters (2.6 feet) on Saturday.

In Niigata, a city famous for its rice cultivation, some makers of mochi — rice cakes that are considered staples for New Year’s celebration meals — said there have been delivery delays and their mochi may not make it to time to your customers.

Many areas of northeast Japan reported three times their average snowfall for the season.

Heavy snow toppled a power pylon on Japan’s northernmost main island, leaving nearly 20,000 homes without power on Christmas morning, though service was restored to most areas later that day, according to the report. Ministry of Economy and Industry.

Dozens of trains and flights were also suspended in northern Japan until Sunday, but service has since been mostly resumed, the transport ministry said.

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