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Snow piles deep in northern Japan, strands vehicles, 3 dead



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TOKYO — Heavy snow in northwest Japan since the weekend has left at least three people dead, hundreds of vehicles stuck on highways, disrupted trains and left thousands of homes without power, the official said Wednesday.

The strong weather system has brought heavy snow to northern coastal areas of Japan since Saturday, with snow piling up more than 2 meters (6.5 feet) in parts of Niigata, Yamagata and Aomori prefectures. .

Self-Defense Forces soldiers helped clear the Niigata highway, where hundreds of cars and delivery trucks were stuck in lines more than 20 kilometers (12 miles), and provided other assistance. Local volunteers also help deliver food and other necessities to those trapped in their cars for hours.

As weather conditions improved, road closures were lifted on Tuesday, but another snowstorm is forecast to affect the area over the weekend.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said more than 10,000 homes, mostly in Niigata, were still without power on Wednesday morning and deliveries to convenience stores were delayed due to blocked roads.

The Fire and Disaster Management Authority reported three deaths and 10 injuries. An 85-year-old man died after falling into a ditch while clearing snow in the town of Kashiwazaki in Niigata, which was hardest hit. In Hokkaido, a 63-year-old woman was crushed between two trucks while trying to get out of the snow, and in Akita, a 73-year-old man also fell to the ground while clearing snow on the roof and died. according to local officials and authorities. report.

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