Northern blizzard death toll at nine


The death toll from a blizzard that hit Hokkaido and the Tohoku region over the weekend has risen to nine, local police said Monday.

The latest fatality as of Monday was Kuniko Jingi, 76, who was found collapsed under the snow on a road near her home in the Hokkaido city of Kitami. She was found by her son and later confirmed dead at a hospital.

Eight others died in the blizzard, with many of them getting trapped in heavy snow while on the road, as a strong low-pressure system gripped the area.

Among those who died were a woman and her three children, who were confirmed dead after their car was buried under snow.

Shinkansen runs resume


The Akita Shinkansen Line resumed operations Monday after a bullet train derailed Saturday, East Japan Railway Co. said.

The first of the train’s six cars with 130 passengers aboard derailed at around 4 p.m. Saturday in Daisen, Akita Prefecture. No one was injured in the accident.

Before being transported by buses and taxis to Akita Station and elsewhere, the passengers were confined to the train for some six hours, during which time all services on the Akita Shinkansen Line connecting Akita and Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, were suspended.

On Sunday, JR East partially halted operations between Akita and Omagari stations on the line because of the accident.

Transport officials launched a full investigation the same day into the derailment and found the tracks may been damaged before the derailment.