U-turn rush clogs nation’s arteries

The annual rush of people returning home after spending the yearend and new year holidays in their hometowns or at resorts began Jan. 3, clogging highways, airports and Shinkansen trains.The peak of the congestion is expected to come Jan. 4 and Jan. 5. According to the Japan Road Traffic Information Center, highway congestion began just before noon Jan. 3. A 41-km-long line of stalled cars was reported in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, on the Tomei Expressway, and 50 km of bumper-to-bumper traffic was reported on the Tohoku Expressway in Tochigi Prefecture.Almost all domestic air flights, including extra flights, were fully booked for the day, air firms said. Shinkansen trains heading to Tokyo were running at roughly 40 percent to 100 percent beyond capacity, according to Japan Railway group firms.