Tokyo: 525 People Hospitalized for ‘Falling on Ice’ in Record Snowfall

TOKYO, JAPAN - JANUARY 06: People walk along Shibuya crossing during snowfall on January 6
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More than 500 pedestrians and bicyclists were admitted to hospitals across Tokyo between Thursday and Friday for injuries caused by “slipping and falling due to ice and snow on the streets” after the Japanese national capital region experienced its heaviest snowfall in four years, Kyodo News reported on Saturday.

“A total of 525 people, aged between less than 1 year old and 100, were taken to hospitals in the capital, including a woman in her 60s who suffered severe injuries,” the Tokyo Fire Department confirmed on January 8.

In Saitama Prefecture, which neighbors Tokyo, 140 people sustained injuries from January 6 through January 7 after attempting to travel on icy surfaces. Saitama health officials classified four such injuries as “severe,” including that of a “72-year-old woman who fell from her bicycle and broke her leg.” An 84-year-old Saitama man similarly broke his leg “after falling when he was riding a bicycle” on January 7.

In addition to the slip-and-fall incidents, Tokyo police recorded “77 traffic accidents resulting in injuries” that occurred “due to the snow” as of the morning of January 7.

Four residents of Saitama’s Kasukabe city suffered “minor injuries” in a traffic accident involving five trucks sometime between January 6 and January 8, local police told Kyodo News on Saturday. Kasukabe police officers said they suspected “icy road” conditions caused the accident.

A 3.7-mile-long stretch of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Expressway iced over on the night of January 6 stranding several motorists on the road overnight.

“On the portion of the inner track of the circular route of the Metropolitan Expressway that extends almost 6 kilometers [3.7 miles] from Kohoku Junction in Adachi Ward to Itabashi Junction in Itabashi Ward, drivers were forced to stay in their cars overnight for more than 10 hours,” the Asahi Shimbun reported on January 7.

Metropolitan Expressway staff provided the stranded drivers with “food, water and disposable toilets” during their overnight ordeal, the Japanese newspaper revealed.

Central Tokyo recorded 3.9 inches of snow accumulation on the evening of January 6. The figure marked a level of snowfall “unseen” in the Japanese capital “over the past four years” according to Kyodo News.

“The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a warning of heavy snowfall in the 23 wards of the capital, also the first since January 2018,” the news agency noted on January 7.

The record snowfall disrupted or suspended air and rail travel throughout the Tokyo metropolitan area from January 6 through at least January 7.

“All Nippon Airways canceled nine flights departing from or arriving at Tokyo’s Haneda airport,” Kyodo News reported on January 8.

“Several railway lines were suspended or delayed due to train car inspections,” the news agency added.

The Tokyo metropolitan area is the most populous metropolitan region in the world, home to an estimated 38 million residents.


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