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Snowfall Snarls Tokyo Area Transport, Power for Second Weekend

Two days of snowfall disrupted transportation and caused power outages in the metropolitan Tokyo area, the second straight weekend of weather-related air, rail and road delays in the city.

Snow caused delays and some suspensions on Japan’s network of high-speed rail lines and on commuter trains in Tokyo, while roads in the capital were covered in slush after temperatures rose this morning and turned precipitation into rain.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the country’s biggest electricity supplier, said it’s working to restore power to some 58,000 customers blacked out as of 10:30 a.m. today. Power disruptions hit as many as 240,000 of the utility’s customers, mainly in Gunma prefecture, northwest of the capital.

About 20 centimeters (8 inches) of snow fell in Tokyo since yesterday, with accumulations 10 times higher in some other parts of the nation, the Japan Meteorological Agency reported on its website. Last weekend, Tokyo received as much as 24 centimeters of snow, the most in 45 years, public broadcaster NHK reported.

ANA Holdings Inc. and Japan Airlines Co., the two biggest airlines, said all domestic flights at Tokyo’s Haneda airport were suspended this morning as crews removed snow from runways, with some cancellations expected to continue until 5 p.m. Japan Airlines said international flights were delayed, with no cancellations cited on its website as of 10:30 a.m.

Train operators JR East Corp. and JR Central Corp. said some local lines and the bullet trains to Nagano were suspended today. Bullet trains to parts of Niigata were also stopped indefinitely, while other high-speed lines were running with delays of at least 30 minutes, according to the railways’ websites.

A train crash in Yokohama’s suburbs early this morning left 18 people injured, the transport ministry said in an e-mailed statement. The accident occurred on the Tokyo-Yokohama line operated by Tokyu Corp., the ministry said.

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