Record snow has been hitting Japan’s south/east coast the past week with Tokyo getting 27cms (11in). Two storm have come through leaving pure chaos in their wake. Japan gets a lot of snow, but not usually on the south/east coast where its major population centers are located. Tokyo has 26 million people in it and it is entirely not equipped for snow. Snow storms usually come from the north and hit the north shore and drop most of their moisture before arriving in the Tokyo area.
The Japan Fire and Disaster Management Agency has confirmed that 19 people have died and 365 have been injured due to these rare snow storms in Japan. People have been killed from collapsing roofs, freezing to death, being stranded in their homes, car accidents, and more.
“A commuter train collision at a station on the outskirts of Tokyo was also attributed to the snow by railway operator Tokyu Corp. Around 20 passengers were left with minor injuries in the incident.” – CNN.com
Transportation has been a nightmare with many of the expressways having been closed for over a week. Buses and trains have been canceled all over Japan. Over 600 flights have been canceled as well in Japan. We know many skiers and riders who have missed flights and had to buy new flights and have gone through horrible overland transportation experiences in the past week.
Over 5,000 homes have been inaccessable due to snow-blocked roads in Yamanashi, Nagano, Saitama, Tokyo, and Gunma prefectures (states).
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe created an emergency disaster task force to confront the damage caused by the snow storms. Abe wants to make sure to avoid:
“anybody freez[ing] to the death due to the isolation” and he’d like to immediately “to restore lifelines and clear the roads” in zones where people have been cut off.