Roughly 260 cars remained stranded on a snowy road on the Sea of Japan coast Thursday morning, with many people already having spent two nights there while plowing efforts continued.
The Ground Self-Defense Force said the vehicles could be able to leave this evening, once its members complete removing snow in the area using heavy equipment.
Heavy snow started to block traffic Tuesday morning and roughly 1,500 vehicles were stuck in a 10-kilometer stretch of Route 8 in Fukui Prefecture at one point.
The GSDF began removing snow that afternoon in response to a request for help by the Fukui prefectural government under the disaster relief law. Snow drifts hindered the GSDF from utilizing the machinery at first, and the plowing operation was only able to proceed at a very slow pace.
So far, 17 people have reported fatigue to emergency centers set up nearby, but none of them has health issues, according to the prefecture.
Due to the heavy snowfall, at least 13 people were injured in Fukui, Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures, including some who fell from roofs while removing snow, according to local fire departments.
The snow has continued to disrupt other transport as well, with West Japan Railway Co. deciding to cancel services of 88 trains Thursday, including the Thunderbird and Shirasagi limited express trains bound for or leaving Kanazawa.
A total of 42 flights to and from Komatsu Airport in Ishikawa Prefecture were also cancelled.
See also Gallery: Heavy Snow in Central Japan