Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has instructed ministers to take preemptive measures to combat heavy snowfall. He asked people to avoid going out unless it is absolutely necessary.
Suga held a meeting with relevant Cabinet ministers on Friday as wide areas across northern to western Japan are expected to be hit by a winter storm.
He said that heavy snowfall has been affecting people's lives with expressway closures, suspension of railway services, and power outages. He vowed that he will work closely with local governments to provide support, including restoring power and having Self-Defense Force members remove snow.
He instructed ministers to quickly provide citizens with information that is easy to understand. He also asked them to grasp the needs of local governments and do whatever is necessary to ensure people's safety and security.
Suga called on citizens in the affected areas to pay attention to the latest weather and traffic information. He urged people to be on the alert for traffic disruptions, damage to facilities, snow falling off roofs, and avalanches.