Japan: One dead as snowstorm causes 130-vehicle pile-up

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media captionAerial footage shows the 130-car pile-up on the Tohoku Expressway

A huge snowstorm has struck a highway in Japan, causing a 130-vehicle pile-up, killing one person and injuring 10.

The storm blanketed a stretch of the Tohoku Expressway in Miyagi prefecture at around noon (03:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

Some 200 people have been caught up in the pile-up and rescuers are currently at the scene, officials said.

Japan has been hit by severe snow storms in recent weeks with some parts of the country seeing double the average expected snowfall.

Images from the expressway in the north of the country show the sheer scale of the pile-up.

image copyrightReuters
image captionOne person died and at least 10 were injured after the vehicles collided

Authorities had already enforced a 50km/h (31mph) speed limit on the road due to visibility.

There was a maximum wind speed of about 100km/h (62mph) at the time of the incident, local weather officials said.

Those who were involved have been given drinking water and food, and have been provided with blankets to keep warm, NHK News reports (in Japanese).

image copyrightReuters
image captionThose stuck behind the vehicles have been given food, water and blankets

The snow has affected some of Japan's high-speed railway network, with a number of train services in the Tohoku region cancelled.

According to local media, the region is expected to record up to 40cm (15 inches) of snow in the next 24 hours.

The country has been experiencing a large amount of snowfall this winter.

Last month, heavy snow left more than 1,000 vehicles stranded on the Kanetsu expressway for two days.

The weather was so bad that an emergency meeting was called and the country's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called on members of the public to be cautious.

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