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 because of 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.
“We will do everything we can to protect the lives and possessions of people in cooperation with local governments and relevant ministries,” he told parliament on Monday.