Widespread snow takes heavy toll on transport

Kyodo, Bloomberg, Staff Report

Snow snarled transportation in Tokyo and many other parts of the country Friday as the Meteorological Agency projected a heavy accumulation for the second weekend in a row.

The snow was generated after cold air poured into an atmospheric depression off the southern coast of the Japanese archipelago, the agency said.

It said east and west Japan could see heavy snow through Saturday, with the Tohoku region drawing even heavier amounts from Saturday through Sunday.

In Tokyo, police and firefighters said injuries from slips and falls grew Friday as snow created havoc on the roads and forced airlines and railways to alter their schedules.

All Nippon Airways canceled more than 120 domestic flights and Japan Airlines scrubbed more than 110, while JAL’s budget affiliate Jetstar Japan canceled 12.

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) and West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) ran bullet trains at reduced speed on parts of the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line, causing delays, the railways said.

Many highways across the country were closed as well.

Meteorological Agency official Shigeki Matsubayashi said Friday’s snowfall mechanism resembled last week’s because both used the same type of atmospheric depression. In the Kanto region, however, the snow was wetter this time because it wasn’t as cold.

Central Tokyo was expected to get as much as 10 cm in 24 hours.