People remove snow in front of a house at an area stranded by heavy snow in Hayakawa town, Yamanashi prefecture, west of Tokyo, in this February 17, 2014 picture provided by Kyodo. REUTERS/Kyodo
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A severe snowstorm sweeping across Japan has killed 19 people and left more than 1,600 injured, media and officials said Monday, as the extreme weather sparked widespread transport chaos.The storm is now moving towards northernmost Hokkaido, Japan's meteorological agency said, warning of heavy snow, blizzards and avalanches as well as high waves along the northeastern coast, which was battered by a quake-sparked tsunami almost three years ago.National Route 18 that runs through Gunma and Nagano prefectures north of Tokyo is still partly closed, with cars stuck along several kilometres due to the heavy snow.Snow began falling Friday morning in the capital Tokyo and had piled up to 26 centimetres (10 inches) by early Saturday, a week after the heaviest snowfall in decades left 11 people dead and more than 1,200 injured across the nation.
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