Ten people died in snow-related incidents on Saturday and Sunday, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Monday.
The agency said the deaths occurred in Hokkaido, the Tohoku and Hokuriku areas, parts of which have experienced between 120 cms and one meter of snow since Saturday.
In Obihiro, Hokkaido, a 78-year-old man died after he fell off his roof while removing snow, Sankei Shimbun reported. In Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, another 78-year-old man also died when he lost his footing and slipped from the roof of a shed while removing snow.
In Aga, Niigata Prefecture, a 57-year-old man was found dead after being buried by snow in front of his house. Police believe he, too, fell off the roof. An 84-year-old man in Niigata City suffered the same fate, police said. In Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture, an 87-year-old man died after an accident involving a snow blower, police said.
Meanwhile, in Himi, Toyama Prefecture, a man in his 60s was found inside his car which had become stuck in snow. The car was partially buried in snow when it was spotted by rescue workers. Another man apparently froze to death in his car which was found in a parking lot in Uchinada, Ishikawa Prefecture, police said.
Since early December, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency and local police officials have been urging residents in areas where there is heavy snow to exercise caution when clearing snow from the roof and to beware of falling snow. In order to prevent houses from collapsing under the weight of snow, many people including the elderly often use a ladder to climb up onto their roofs but lose their footing on the snowy roofs.
Police have asked people not to go up onto their roofs alone, or if they do, tie a rope around their waist and fasten it securely to a sturdy part of the roof, if they can.© Japan Today