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WORLD : 84-Mile Japanese Traffic Jam

From Times Wire Services

A powerful typhoon combined with the summer holiday rush to create the longest traffic jam in Japan’s history--an 84-mile-long highway mess, the Japan Highway Corp. said today.

“It is the longest traffic jam on record, and it was basically caused by bad luck,” corporation spokesman Katsutoshi Furuya said. “Many drivers were on the road that day because the typhoon had kept them off it the day before,” he said. “Everything just seems to have come together in the worst way.”

The record-setting traffic snarl occurred on a highway between Hyogo and Shiga prefectures in western Japan.

About 15,000 vehicles were involved in the traffic jam, which occurred Aug. 12, he said. Japanese generally take holidays in the Aug. 10-19 period to mark “O-bon,” or the Festival of the Dead. It is a time when families gather to pay respects to their ancestors.

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