Heavy snowfall continues to disrupt transport in Japan

Tokyo, Jan 25 (EFE).- Heavy snowfall continued on Wednesday in much of Japan, especially in the west and north, leading to train disruptions and more flight cancellations during the worst cold wave in a decade.

Fifteen trains on the JR Kyoto and Biwako lines, in western Japan, were temporarily stuck between stations with passengers on board and a total of 13 people were taken to hospital for treatment, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Videos posted on social video showed crowded platforms, with passengers awaiting the arrival of trains and others walking along the tracks to nearby stations after a seven-to-eight hour halt, while some spent the night in the carriages and were given cookies and drinks.

The Yamagata Shinkansen (high-speed train) line, in the northeast, canceled operations between the Fukushima and Shinjo stations on Wednesday due to snow.

Some trains on the Tohoku line are suspended while the Tokaido and Sanyo lines are operating at reduced speed, resulting in delays.

Lines to and from the Tokyo metropolitan area, including the Nikko and Ryomo lines, also continued to face delays and closures, although most of them are operating normally since the snowfall has not affected the capital so far.

Road traffic has also been disrupted.

In the western Fukui prefecture, some 10 vehicles were temporarily stuck along a 14 kilometer stretch at night.

Closures are expected on Wednesday in many sections of highways from the northeastern Tohoku region to Kyushu, in the southwest, including those in Yamagata, Joban, Chuo, Chugoku, Oita and Nagasaki.

Regarding air traffic, Japan’s two largest airlines, JAL and ANA, announced the cancellation of more than 200 flights on Wednesday, a day after almost 300 flights were affected.

A strong cold air front is causing minimum temperatures in Japan to range from -12 degrees Celsius in Sapporo, in the north of the country, to -4 degrees Celsius in Tokyo and other central and western areas, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The agency has warned that the cold wave is expected to continue until Thursday. EFE


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