Weather officials warn that very strong storms are expected on the Sea of Japan side of northern Japan for a couple of days from Tuesday, New Year's Eve.
The Japan Meteorological Agency says a front extending from a low pressure system will cross northern Japan, making the atmosphere extremely unstable in some places. It says conditions could bring lightning, gusts of wind including tornadoes, and hail.
The agency is also warning of an inflow of a cold air mass over northern Japan that may be below minus 15 degrees Celsius at a height of 1,500 meters.
It says the air mass will cause snowstorms with very strong wind on the Sea of Japan side of the northern part of the country. Maximum gusts are expected to reach 126 kilometers per hour in Hokkaido and 108 kilometers per hour in Tohoku.
Officials say the wind will remain strong through Thursday, especially in Hokkaido, with violent snowstorms and snowdrifts possibly affecting transportation.