• Kyodo News


Heavy snow continued to hit areas along the Sea of Japan on Monday as a cold air mass hung over the country, disrupting railway and highway travel and halting factories at Toyota Motor Corp. and other manufacturers.

The Meteorological Agency said the winter atmospheric pattern continued to hover around the archipelago Monday but is expected to gradually recede through to Tuesday.

Snowfall was seen in central Japan as well, forcing Toyota Motor Corp. to idle factories.

In the Chugoku region in the west and on the Sea of Japan coast Monday morning, snow piled as high as 195 cm in Kitahiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, 137 cm in Maniwa, Okayama Prefecture, 91 cm in Onan, Shimane Prefecture, and 253 cm in Daisen in neighboring Tottori Prefecture — all record highs in western Japan, the weather agency said.

Nagoya saw 10 cm of snow, while Kyoto got 6 cm, it added.

According to Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai), the Tokaido Shinkansen Line was delayed after bullet trains were slowed by heavy snowfall between Hamamatsu Station in Shizuoka Prefecture and Shin-Osaka Station.

A total of 75 trains ran up to two hours late, affecting some 67,000 people, JR Tokai said.

The Tomei Expressway was also closed between Fukuroi in Shizuoka Prefecture and Toyota in Aichi Prefecture earlier in the day.

Elsewhere, Toyota decided not to open 12 factories in Aichi Prefecture because the snow could disrupt parts deliveries and prevent employees from getting to work. Toyota partly stopped the operation of its Just-In-Time system, which minimizes part stocks and procures additional parts only when necessary.

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