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Japan's snowstorm leaves 19 dead, causes transport chaos

Published on Feb 17, 2014 1:25 PM
 
Trucks and cars are stranded by heavy snow on a national road in Karuizawa on Feb 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO - A severe snowstorm sweeping across Japan has killed 19 people and left more than 1,600 injured, media and officials said on Monday, as the extreme weather sparked widespread transport chaos.

At least 19 people have died in snow-related incidents after the record-breaking storm, the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun reported, with the blast now battering the northern island of Hokkaido.

More than 6,900 people were trapped in small communities cut off by snow-blocked roads and railway lines, the Yomiuri said, while gasoline deliveries to some petrol stations were delayed due to impassible roads.

In Yamanashi prefecture west of Tokyo, stores were facing a serious fresh food shortage, the Yomiuri and public broadcaster NHK reported, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promising to send a government team to help the struggling area.

 
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