Dozens killed as icy weather grips Japan

Thursday, February 2, 2012
By Paul Martin
February 02, 2012

HEAVY snow that has blanketed northern Japan for weeks, triggering avalanches and affecting transport networks, has left at least 55 people dead.

In one of the country’s coldest winters in recent years, the toll includes more than 40 people who died as they removed snow from roofs or roads, seven crushed by snow falling from buildings and four killed in avalanches.

The latest snow slide, at a popular mountain resort known for therapeutic hot-springs, killed three holidaymakers yesterday.

The 40-metre-wide avalanche crushed three tents near a naturally heated rock site in northern Akita prefecture. Police and rescuers continued their search today “to confirm there are no others buried in the snow”, a police spokesman said.

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