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Massive car pileup on Japan highway kills one, injures 17

January 19, 2021 GMT
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Damaged cars are covered with snow after a multiple accident on the Tohoku Expressway in Osaki city, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan, Tuesday, Jan. 19. 2021. (Yusuke Ogata/Kyodo News via AP)
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Damaged cars are covered with snow after a multiple accident on the Tohoku Expressway in Osaki city, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan, Tuesday, Jan. 19. 2021. (Yusuke Ogata/Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — One person was killed and at least 17 injured Tuesday in a massive pileup of at least 134 vehicles in blizzard conditions on a highway in northern Japan, officials said.

About 200 people were stranded in the pileup, which forced the closure of the Tohoku Expressway in Miyagi prefecture, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Public broadcaster NHK said highway authorities finished cleaning up the debris after about eight hours.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said a truck rammed into a passenger car, triggering the pileup over a one kilometer (0.6 mile) stretch of the highway. One person was killed, he said.

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The disaster agency later said 17 others were injured, including two seriously.

Traffic authorities had imposed a 50 kilometer (30 mile) per hour speed limit at the time of the accident because of low visibility due to the snow storm, Kato said.

Parts of northern Japan have been struck by heavy snow in recent weeks.