Heavy snowfall blanketed many parts of Japan on Monday, disrupting transportation and prompting Toyota Motor Corp to suspend operations at 12 of its factories. More than 100 centimetres of snow fell in some areas along the Sea of Japan, disrupting rail and highway travel in central Japan. The fresh snowfall pushed snow accumulation to 195 centimetres in Kitahiroshima in Hiroshima prefecture, 137 centimetres in Maniwa in Okayama prefecture and 91 centimetres in Onan in Shimane prefecture, all record highs for the locations in western Japan, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Nagoya, a major central city, also saw more than 10 centimetres of snow pile up for the first time in three years, the agency said. Toyota decided to halt work at its 12 factories around the city because the snow could block smooth procurement of parts and make employees’ commutes difficult. The carmaker said it was to resume operations on Tuesday. Central Japan Railway Co said services on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line were delayed as bullet trains slowed because of snowfall between Hamamatsu and Shin-Osaka Station. A total of 75 trains ran up to two hours behind schedule, affecting about 67,000 people, the Kyodo News agency reported, citing the company.
The Tomei Expressway was also closed between Shizuoka and Toyota in Aichi prefecture earlier in the day, Kyodo said. The agency said the weather system was expected to keep hovering around the country on Monday but to gradually recede through Tuesday.