Japan: Heavy snowfall kills at least 17 people, dozens injured


Heavy snowfalls in northern Japan and other parts of the country killed at least 17 people and injured more than 90 others over the Christmas weekend, authorities said.

An official with Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said a woman in her 70s died after being buried under snow that fell from a roof in the city of Nagai, Yamagata Prefecture, where snow covered more than 80 centimeters as of Saturday (2.6 feet) had piled up.

Parts of Japan, mostly along the west coast, have been hit hard by heavy snowfall from strong winter fronts, weather officials said — vehicles have been stranded on highways and delivery services delayed since mid-December.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said last week snowfall had accumulated well above average in some parts.

Residents shovel snow from a sidewalk in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, central Japan, on December 24, 2022.

A pedestrian walks in the snow in front of JR Kanazawa Train Station in Ishikawa Prefecture, central Japan, December 23, 2022.

Japan has experienced increasingly adverse weather conditions in recent years. The climate is mostly temperate, but varies greatly from north to south.

December saw heavy snowstorms in northeastern regions like Hokkaido, while parts of the south were hit by heavy rains from a powerful typhoon in September.

And in June, Tokyo experienced a heatwave that saw temperatures soar above a record 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

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