Japan PM Suga Urges Caution over Heavy Snow

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Dec. 30 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday called on people in areas along the Sea of Japan coasts to refrain from unnecessary outings, with heavy snow expected there in the days to come.

"I want people (in the areas) to be sufficiently aware of possible traffic disruptions and facility damage from the snow, and be fully alert for blocks of snow falling from roofs and avalanches," Suga said in a meeting of ministers preparing for heavy snow during the year-end and New Year's holiday period.

The government is also alerting drivers on expressways, after massive snowfall left numerous vehicles stranded on the Kan-Etsu Expressway, which links Tokyo and the central Japan prefecture of Niigata, in mid-December.

The Japan Meteorological Agency warned Wednesday that a strong winter pressure pattern is expected to dump snow mainly in Sea of Japan regions until around New Year's Day. Warnings were also issued for blizzards, strong winds, avalanches and high waves. An especially high alert is needed for the Chugoku western region, which could suddenly face heavier snowfall, the agency said.

On Wednesday, snow mainly hit Sea of Japan areas of Hokkaido, northernmost Japan, to the Chugoku region. Many flights to and from airports in the areas were canceled, while the Tohoku Expressway was temporarily closed to traffic in Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan, as snow needed to be cleared. Part of the Hachinohe Expressway, connecting Iwate and neighboring Aomori Prefecture, was also shut for a while due to work to remove snow.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press