Snow falls over wide areas, disrupts transport; Tokyo trains get crowded

Kyodo, Staff Report

Snow fell Wednesday over wide areas of Japan, mainly in mountainous regions, due to a low pressure system, the Meteorological Agency said.

Up to 6 cm was recorded in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, in the morning, up to 3 cm in the city of Nagano, and up to 2 cm in the city of Fukushima.

There was no risk of heavy snow in western Japan, the agency said, but snow was expected to accumulate even in the plains along the Pacific coast from the Kanto to the Tohoku regions. Some areas may experience heavy snow, the agency said.

In the 24 hours until Thursday morning, up to 30 cm of snow was forecast to fall in the Kanto-Koshin region, 20 cm in the Tohoku region, and 15 cm in the plains in northern Kanto and mountainous areas in the southern part of Kanto.

As for the plains in southern Kanto, including Tokyo’s 23 wards, and the Kinki and Chugoku regions in western Japan, up to 5 cm of snow was predicted.

Vehicles on some sections of highways, including the Kanetsu Expressway and Tohoku Expressway, were instructed to reduce speed.

Although the metropolitan area did not suffer any major traffic disruptions due to snow, railways, including East Japan Railway Co., reduced the number of train runs Wednesday morning as a precaution, and many commuters were forced to ride even more crowded trains than usual.

At some stations, including Shinjuku, commuters managed to get through ticket gates but were barred from proceeding to train platforms for safety reasons.

The capital was hit by heavy snow in mid-January, which caused serious disruptions of its railway web.