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Fourteen people were killed and 27 injured when a coach taking passengers to a ski resort in central Japan veered off a mountain road.

The coach, with 41 people on board, was travelling overnight from Tokyo to a resort in Nagano prefecture.

The accident happened near the town of Karuizawa early today.

The coach reportedly strayed onto the wrong side of the road and smashed through a guardrail, sliding several metres down the mountainside.

There were two drivers on board, taking turns to drive, according to the AP news agency.

It is not immediately clear what caused the crash as there was no snow or ice on the road. Japan’s transport ministry has started an inquiry into the accident.