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Tokyo Has Heaviest Snow Since 1998 Ahead of Governor Poll

Snow in Tokyo
People walk in the snow at a park in Tokyo on February 8, 2014. Photographer: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

Weather disrupted flights and train services across Japan today, as central Tokyo had its heaviest snowfall for 16 years ahead of a poll tomorrow to elect the city’s next governor.

Central Tokyo was blanketed in about 10 centimeters (4 inches) of snow as of 3 p.m. today, the most since January 1998, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. Levels could rise to as much as 50 centimeters in the Kanto and Koshin regions, which include the Tokyo metropolitan area, by tomorrow morning, the agency said.

Voters in the capital head to the polls tomorrow with former Japanese health minister Yoichi Masuzoe leading the race to be governor, according to a survey conducted by the Nikkei newspaper from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2. Masuzoe remained ahead of former prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa and Kenji Utsunomiya, the former head of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported about 13,300 blackouts in Tokyo and four prefectures as of 3:39 p.m. today, the utility said on its website.

ANA Holdings Inc. canceled 200 domestic flights and two international flights today, affecting about 37,900 passengers, as of 12:30 p.m., the Japanese airline said in a faxed statement. The airline also canceled all domestic flights after 3 p.m. from Tokyo’s Haneda airport, the fax said.

Japan Airlines Co. halted 278 domestic flights and three international flights as of 2 p.m., affecting 52,470 passengers, while canceling all domestic flights from and to Haneda for the rest of the day, the company said in a fax.

Train lines operated by East Japan Railway Co. have been suspended, the company said. Some bullet trains are running at a slower speed, Central Japan Railway Co. said on its website.

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