Blizzards Blamed for 8 Deaths in Japan

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Heavy snowfall and blizzards have lead to the deaths of eight people and disrupted traffic for hundreds of thousands of holiday travelers across Japan, officials said Sunday.

Up to 60 centimeters (24 inches) of fresh snow was recorded in parts of the northern Hokuriku region, the heaviest snowfall in decades, the Meteorological Agency said.

Blizzards have hampered Japan for days, triggering blackouts, paralyzing traffic and injuring hundreds of people in snow-related accidents.

Snow-related incidents lead to two deaths last week. By late Sunday, police said six more people were found dead.

They included a 67-year-old man who died after falling into a ditch while carrying snow from his yard; and another man, aged 69, who died after falling from a ladder while trying to remove snow from his roof, according to police in western Shiga prefecture.

The snow also disrupted public transportation across the country over the weekend, affecting hundreds of thousands of travelers. More than 30 domestic flights were canceled, and about 240 high-speed bullet trains were delayed, affecting some 230,000 passengers, Kyodo News agency reported.