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TOKYO (Reuters) - A heavy snowfall in central Japan brought road traffic to a standstill on Tuesday, trapping some 1,000 cars, local officials said, adding they have asked the military for help but have not heard of any injuries or illness among those trapped.
Snow has reached 1.36 metres (54 inches) in Fukui prefecture, 320 km (200 miles) west of Tokyo, as of 2:00 p.m. (0500 GMT) on Tuesday, the heaviest snowfall in nearly four decades in the region, a local meteorological observatory said.
The traffic standstill, stretching for about 10 km (6 miles)in the prefecture, was caused by some cars going off the shoulder of the road in the snowstorm and others stopping to put on tire chains as a precautionary measure, an official at a local office of the Transport Ministry said.
"We have blocked traffic heading into the affected area, so no more cars will join the jam. In some parts, cars have resumed moving, but only to be caught in a standstill again," the official said.
The snowfall in Fukui is expected to continue at least until Wednesday morning, the local observatory said.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Michael Perry)