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Japan snow: 11 dead, 1,200 injured; voter turnout for Tokyo polls drops

Visitors take photos at the Imperial Palace as snow falls in Tokyo on Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Visitors take photos at the Imperial Palace as snow falls in Tokyo on Feb 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A man walks between office buildings that are covered with snow in Tokyo on Feb 9, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A man walks between office buildings that are covered with snow in Tokyo on Feb 9, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A dog snow sculpture is seen as a man shovels snow in Tokyo on Feb 9, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A dog snow sculpture is seen as a man shovels snow in Tokyo on Feb 9, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A boy builds a snowman at a park in Tokyo on Feb 9, 2014, one day after a heavy snowfall hit the capital. -- PHOTO: AFP
A boy builds a snowman at a park in Tokyo on Feb 9, 2014, one day after a heavy snowfall hit the capital. -- PHOTO: AFP
A man shovels snow to make a path at a park in Tokyo on Feb 9, 2014, one day after a heavy snowfall hit the capital. -- PHOTO: AFP
A man shovels snow to make a path at a park in Tokyo on Feb 9, 2014, one day after a heavy snowfall hit the capital. -- PHOTO: AFP
Flowers are covered with snow in Tokyo on Feb 8, 2014. Japan Meteorological Agency said wide areas of Japan will be hit by snowfall Saturday, with a rapidly developing low-pressure front heading north-east along the south side of the Honshu main isla
Flowers are covered with snow in Tokyo on Feb 8, 2014. Japan Meteorological Agency said wide areas of Japan will be hit by snowfall Saturday, with a rapidly developing low-pressure front heading north-east along the south side of the Honshu main island, according to local media. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
People walk in a park in downtown Tokyo under heavy snow on Feb 8, 2014. The heaviest snow in decades in Tokyo and other areas of Japan has left at least five dead and 600 injured across the country by early Sunday, reports said. -- PHOTO: AFP
People walk in a park in downtown Tokyo under heavy snow on Feb 8, 2014. The heaviest snow in decades in Tokyo and other areas of Japan has left at least five dead and 600 injured across the country by early Sunday, reports said. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - The heaviest snow in decades in Tokyo and other areas of Japan has left at least 11 dead and more than 1,200 injured across the country, reports said on Sunday.

As much as 27cm of snow was recorded in Tokyo by late Saturday, the heaviest fall in the capital for 45 years, according to meteorologists.

The storm hit Tokyo on the eve of its gubernatorial election.

Observers say the weather may affect voter turnout in the city of 13 million people. As of 6pm turnout was down more than 10 percentage points from a previous poll during the last mayoral election.

As a depression moved along the Pacific coast on Saturday, the northeastern city of Sendai saw 35cm of snow, the heaviest in 78 years.

Local media said at least 11 people have been killed with one person also in critical condition in snow-linked accidents - mostly crashes after their cars skidded on icy roads.

In central Aichi prefecture, a 50-year-old man died after his car slipped on the icy road and rammed into an advertisement steel pole, a local rescuer said.

Public broadcaster NHK reported at least 1,253 people were injured across the nation, many of whom had slipped on the ground or fallen while shovelling the snow off their roofs.

More than 20,000 households were without electricity early Sunday while airlines cancelled more than 400 domestic flights a day after over 740 flights were grounded.

Nearly 5,000 people were stranded at Narita Airport on Saturday as traffic linking the airport to the capital was disrupted, NHK said.

Further snowfall is expected on Sunday in the northern part of the country, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

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