Pictures from Tokyo showing how heavy snow hit Japan on Saturday

A friend in Japan, Dr Sunguya B., sent us the following pictures showing how heavy snow and severe weather struck Tokyo and other areas across Japan on Saturday. Several universities delayed the starting times of their entrance examinations for the new academic year starting in April. The snow forced Japanese airline companies to
cancelled at least 615 flights. Airports in the western cities of Hiroshima and Kagawa were closed as operators were removing snow from the runways.

AFP reports that Public broadcaster NHK said at least 89 people were injured in snow-related accidents only in eastern Japan, including 17 serious injuries.

It also said two female passengers, aged 88 and 90, died on Saturday in a car accident on their way to a nursing home in Ishikawa, central Japan. Police suspect one of the cars skidded on the icy road and caused the head-on clash.

Further snowfall is expected Saturday afternoon and early Sunday in Tokyo, with up to 20 centimetres of snow expected, the weather agency said.

The agency issued a heavy snow warning for Tokyo, the first such warning for the capital in 13 years, calling on residents not to go out unless necessary.

The agency also warned of strong winds and high waves in eastern Japan.

Japanese airline companies cancelled at least 615 flights on Saturday due to heavy snow, NHK said.

Railway operators temporarily suspended services of Shinkansen bullet trains in western Japan, NHK said.

Some 3,400 households lost power in Tokyo and its vicinities "because of the heavy snow and other reasons," a Tokyo Electric Power spokesman said.