More than 1,000 people in Japan were forced to spend the night in their cars on Thursday after record snowfall blanketed parts of the country.
The first few motorists travelling on an expressway connecting Tokyo with Niigata on the coast of the Sea of Japan found their route blocked.
The number of trapped cars grew quickly as huge quantities of snow fell on central and northern Japan. At one point the line of vehicles stretched for 10 miles (16.5km).
Members of the self-defence forces were called in to provide food, blankets and fuel to motorists forced to spend the night in their cars.
Japan’s meteorological agency said heavy snow would continue and warned drivers to look out for frozen roads and avalanches.
Heavy snowfall in central Japan and along the northern coast also cut power to about 10,000 households, prompting the government to call an emergency meeting.
The heaviest snowfall was centered on Niigata and Gunma prefectures, which had about 2 meters of snow over three days.