Blizzard, snow and avalanche crippled normal life in Japan, causing traffic rush during New Year holiday and casualties in some parts of the country. Four men on patrol at a ski resort in the town of Kofu, Tottori Prefecture in western Japan were killed in an avalanche Friday, authorities said.
Xinhua reported the victims were found buried in snow following the avalanche, which occurred at around 1 pm at Okudaisen ski resort.
The ski resort officials said the four were hit by an avalanche, along with a snow-compressing vehicle, when they went to check a ski slope that had been hit by another avalanche a short while ago.
The heavy snow and an accident paralyzed traffic in Totorri where about 1,000 cars were stuck in a 20 km stretch on a national highway, officials said Saturday.
The traffic jam was triggered when a tanker skid in the town of Daisen and blocked both sides of the road, and the congestion worsened as large amounts of snow continued to fall in the area, the officials said.
The local administration said it has set up a task force to provide supplies, such as blankets and fuel for people stuck in the vehicles.