Snowstorm in Japan causes 134-vehicle pileup

Authorities had cut the speed limit, but one person was killed and a dozen hurt

TOKYO — At least 134 vehicles were involved in a series of crashes in Japan on Tuesday when a snowstorm struck a stretch of highway and one person was killed and a dozen hurt in the chaos.

The crashes occurred on the Tohoku Expressway in the northern prefecture of Miyagi at around noon, on a stretch of road about 1 km (half a mile) long, the government said.

Authorities had imposed a speed limit of 50 kph (31 mph) when heavy snow cut visibility, but that was not enough to prevent disaster.

Some 200 people were caught up in the crashes with 12 of them were sent to hospital, the disaster management agency said.

Rescue operations were under way, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters.

Parts of Japan have seen unusually heavy snow in recent weeks. Hundreds of motorists were stuck in a massive snowstorm last month.

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