Three men died and at least 448 people were injured in snow-related incidents after a wide area of Japan was blanketed by snow, authorities said Tuesday.
Two men in their 60s and 70s who were shoveling snow died in the northeastern town of Ogawara, Miyagi Prefecture, and another man in his 60s died in the town of Mamurogawa, Yamagata Prefecture, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
The Japan Meteorological Agency warned of heavy snowfall in northern and northeastern Japan through Saturday.
Public transportation in Tokyo and surrounding areas was disrupted due to snow from Monday afternoon, with a number of expressways being blocked and more than 100 flights canceled. Railway systems had largely returned to normal by Tuesday morning.
Although the snowfall had stopped by Tuesday morning in the eastern region including Tokyo, 21 centimeters of snow had accumulated in central Tokyo as of 7 a.m., 15 cm in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, and 16 cm in Kumagaya, north of the capital.
In a tunnel connecting Tokyo's Shinagawa and Ikebukuro districts, a trailer failed to climb a slope toward an exit in the Shinjuku area around 7:30 p.m. Monday due to snow and caused a traffic jam stretching up to 10 kilometers at one point, stranding vehicles for some 10 hours.
Many frustrated passengers left their vehicles and evacuated from emergency exits on foot, Metropolitan Expressway Co. said.
The Japan Road Traffic Information Center said sections of expressways around the Tokyo area, such as the Tohoku, Joban, Tomei and Metropolitan expressways, were closed.
Airline companies said they had cancelled more than 100 flights Tuesday, many of which were to and from Tokyo's Haneda airport and Narita airport near Tokyo. More than 9,000 people spent the night at Narita and 2,800 at Haneda.
Delays and some cancellations were also seen on some JR and other railway services in the metropolitan area.
On the business front, the snowfall also affected production at some automakers. Nissan Motor Co. halted nighttime operations at its Oppama plant in Kanagawa Prefecture and Tochigi plant in Tochigi Prefecture, as well as its group unit Nissan Shatai Co.'s Shonan plant in Kanagawa on Monday.
Subaru Corp. shortened work hours at three factories in Gunma Prefecture on Monday and Tuesday while Honda Motor Co. delayed the start of work at two factories in Saitama Prefecture on Tuesday.