At least 13 people died and about 250 were injured as record snowfall blanketed regions along the Sea of Japan coast, the Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency said on Tuesday.
According to the agency and local media reports, three people aged in their 60s and 80s died in Fukui Prefecture, while 47 people were injured in the prefecture in snow-linked accidents.
Niigata Prefecture saw four people die as a result of trying to remove snow, the agency said.
The three hard-hit prefectures’ officials have requested assistance from the Self-Defence Force (SDF) in rescue operations, local media said.
Also, the bedlam caused by the snowfall that hit wide swathes of Japan, also saw more than 1,200 vehicles on the Hokuriku Expressway in Fukui Prefecture stranded during a blizzard recently.
Meanwhile, on the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway in Toyama Prefecture, more than 200 vehicles were stranded in heavy snow, while 250 people became stuck on Niigata Prefecture’s National Route 8.
Following the record amount of snowfall recorded in areas along the Sea of Japan, the weather agency here has now forecast heavy snow for the Pacific side of the country.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA) has said that snowfall on the Pacific side would continue through Tuesday, due to a low pressure system off the coast, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported.
According to the reports, snow is likely to blanket areas between the western Kyushu region and the eastern Kanto-Koshin regions.
In mountainous regions, up to 20 centimetres of snow is forecast for 24 hours through Tuesday evening, in the Kinki, Tokai and Shikoku regions, the JMA said.
While in the Kanto-Koshin and Chugoku regions, around 15 centimetres is expected, while Kyushu could see as much as 10 centimetres of snow, the agency said.
Kinki and Shikoku could also see up to 10 centimetres of snow, while snowfall in Kanto, including Tokyo, could reach 7 cm in some areas.