News World Asia Eight dead, 240 injured as winter storm slams Japan

Eight dead, 240 injured as winter storm slams Japan

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At least eight people have died and about 240 were injured as a powerful winter storm battered coastal regions along the Sea of Japan on Sunday, local media reports.

Many died while clearing snow as a cold air system dumped heavy snowfall in the north and central areas of the country.

One man in his 60s was found dead in a car buried by snow in the city of Himi, Kyodo News reported.

Ground Self-Defense Force personnel remove snow on the Hokuriku Expressway, Fukui. Photo: AAP

The winter storm left at least 240 people injured in the prefectures of Niigata, Ishikawa, Fukui and Toyama, according to broadcaster NHK.

About 1000 vehicles were stuck on a snowy highway in Sakai city in the morning, while another 200 cars were stranded on a highway in heavy snow in the city of Nanto.

According to reports by Kyodo News, all of the vehicles stranded on expressways have since been cleared.

The city of Joetsu has received about 180 centimetres of snow since Thursday, while some 160 centimetres of snow has fallen on Shirakawa village.

In December, heavy snow pounded Niigata, leaving about 2100 vehicles stranded for two days on a snowy highway in the prefecture, north-west of Tokyo.