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Massive car pile-up in Japan kills one

One person has been killed and at least 17 injured in a massive pile-up of at least 134 vehicles in blizzard conditions on a highway in northern Japan, officials say.

About 200 people were stranded in the pile-up, 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 pile-up over a one kilometre stretch of the highway.

One person was killed, he said.

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

Traffic authorities had imposed a 50km 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.

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