• Kyodo News


Golden Week traffic jams on expressways continued as travelers took advantage of the new toll discounts.

Sunday morning, the Tohoku Expressway in Saitama Prefecture had an outbound traffic jam stretching 35 km, while a 39-km-long jam clogged the Chuo Expressway in Yamanashi Prefecture and a 32-km line of traffic jammed the Chugoku Expressway around Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, the Japan Road Traffic Information Center said.

The center expected inbound congestion to start Sunday evening. Traffic jams could be at least 35 km long around the Kobotoke tunnel on the Chuo Expressway and 30 km at the Yamato tunnel on the Tomei Expressway.

Several accidents on expressways occurred over the weekend. Motorcyclist Keita Hayashi, 44, from Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, died Saturday on the Tateyama Expressway in Kisarazu after he collided with a truck running ahead of him, Chiba police said.

Also on Saturday, five vehicles slammed into each other on the Hanshin Expressway in Kobe, injuring 13 people including a man who broke his left leg, Hyogo police said.

On Sunday, five cars collided in succession on the Meishin Expressway’s Oyamazaki section in Kyoto Prefecture, police said. But there were only minor injuries.

In late March, the government introduced a two-year program of cutting tolls on weekends and national holidays as part of economic stimulus measures.

A uniform toll of ¥1,000 is charged for an unlimited distance for passenger cars and motorcycles equipped with electronic toll collection devices on expressways outside the Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan areas.

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