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Japan weather agency warns heavy snow could disrupt New Year's traffic

A Japan Meteorological Agency sign is seen in Tokyo's Minato Ward. (Mainichi/Shinji Kurokawa)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japan Meteorological Agency warned Thursday of possible traffic disruptions over the New Year holidays, as heavy snow is expected to continue through Saturday mainly in regions facing the Sea of Japan.

    Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways said they have canceled 81 and 28 domestic flights on Friday respectively. East Japan Railway decided to suspend part of its shinkansen bullet train service in Yamagata Prefecture from 6 p.m. on Thursday through Friday.

    The Hokuriku region in the central part of Japan's Honshu main island will likely see snowfall of about 80 centimeters and the Chugoku region in western Japan may see around 70 cm of snow through early Friday, according to the agency.

    High winds are also expected through Friday in a wide area of the country, except for the northern and northeastern regions as well as Okinawa, with stormy weather possible in some areas.

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