crime

3-year-old boy run over, killed at family barbecue

32 Comments

Police in Kanagawa say a 35-year-old man has been arrested over the death of a 3-year-old boy who was run over by a car at a popular picnic spot.

According to police, 3-year-old Sena Akao was visiting the riverside picnic site in Aikawa with his family for a barbecue on Thursday morning, when he was run over and killed.

TBS reported that the driver, who has been named as Isamu Ota, was arrested on Thursday night. During police questioning, Ota was quoted as saying, "I backed up without looking behind me."

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
Login to comment

my condolences to the family...but where was the family. I feel that one of the problems in japan is that it is soooo safe that parents take it for granted. this was a complete accident and now this man faces a jail sentence. the punishment of having to live with this mistake is more than enough of a jail sentence for him. there is no reason he should be placed in police custody for a mistake that could have been prevented had the parents of a THREE year old had their eyes on them.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Always hold hands with your children till they're around four or five, or at least try to keep an eye on them.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Christopher Joseph Ravida

one of the problems in japan is that it is soooo safe

I would rather say that one of the myths is that Japan is soooo safe, because usually it is compared to the US. This creates complacency among some parents, but accidents can happen anywhere.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Different kind of safety discussion. I don't think Japan or US crime statistics have anything to do with keeping an eye on a small child.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

And even if he was looking, a three year old is too short to see. I see kids running around parking lots here like it is a playground. I feel sorry for this man because he now has to live with this for the rest of his life. Yes, where was the family and why were they not holding on to this kid's hand? Honestly, is it too much to ask parents to respect cars and drivers in parking areas and streets here? It seems like there is a kid killed every damn week because of kids running out or drivers not seeing these small kids. It is totally unfair to arrest a driver over this.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

tmarie - its only common sense to look behind you while reversing in a campground obviously filled with children. Unfortunately in Japan, hardly anyone does. The parents deserve some blame for this but the driver is at fault.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

I am afraid I gotta agree with tmarie. Even if the driver did look behind him, I doubt he would have spotted a 3 year old especially if the child was directly behind the car. I fault the parents for not keeping an eye on the child in the first place.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Hoser, indeed it is - I didn't defend the driver on that. However, even if the driver did look back, he wouldn't seen a three year old there. They are too short to be seen. I agree many here don't look bad which is why I think parents should be even more careful when it comes to their kids and their safety around cars.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Good question: Where was the family? I get sick of seeing so many parents allowing their young kids to tear across car parks at shopping places. Sounds like a simple accident in this case. RIP little one.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Even if the driver had looked behind,I doubt he would have seen a child that small.Once again,negligent parents.RIP

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Depending on the car. My Honda Odyssey has a back up camera and I can see clearly when I backup and use both side view mirrors and rear view mirrors. But then again, parents must be attentive of their kids always. Human error on both sides.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Just plain stupid and dangerous to let a 3 year old kid run around without any adult supervision and then this happens!! Surprise???? NOT!! RIP little kid out in Kanagawa now dead because your parents could not be bothered to keep an eye on you

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm amazed how people walk into the path of a reversing car here. Do they trust drivers that much?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Prosecute the parents. To back up and kill means the kid was directly behind the car..how would he see him anyway...? Parents are idiots for letting 3 year old to run unattended behind cars. In any picnic areas here parking and actual bbq spot is quite far from each other

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am driving a Mini Cooper and I doubt I could see a small child when I drive in reverse. My father's ford has a video camera when driving in reverse, which is wonderful.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It sound like a very sad accident. Prosecute the parents? Prosecute the driver? There aren't any winners by doing that but we always need to blame someone.....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

OK, he accidentally hit a kid. Then he ran over the him without notice anything and he went away ?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I will never forget the moment in a car park in London when I nearly hit a little girl of about 3. I DID look behind me, and to both sides, but she was standing right behind my car and I just couldnt see her. I backed up slowly and heard a scream (the parent) so I stopped, and had missed her by a whisker. He came barrelling over and hurled abuse at me, screaming and shouting and holding his little girl. I was so shocked I just stood there and took it all. It was only later that it occured to me he had run over from a good 20 metres away in order to scoop up his child and hurl that abuse.

That was way before I ever became a parent, but now I am - in a car park holding hands is not negotiable. I even made the older ones hold hands or hold the shopping cart. I dont know if this was in the actual car park or if it was one of those BBQ places where you drive right up to the spot. If the latter, I can understand the parents finding it difficult to keep hold of the childs hand - you cant hold hands AND do what you need to do to get food prepared etc and you would expect drivers in that situation to be super cautious. But if it was a separate carpark (and they usually are, arent they?) then no excuses. He should have looked, and they should have been holding his hand. Very sad all round.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There is no explanation about the whereabouts of the parents during this accident. If they were holding the kids hand and he is hit, the driver deserves jail time. If the boy was running in the street away from the parents, the parents should blame themselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hoserfellaAug. 16, 2013 - 04:18PM JST tmarie - its only common sense to look behind you while reversing in a campground obviously filled with children. Unfortunately in Japan, hardly anyone does. The parents deserve some blame for this but the driver is at fault.

I nearly was in the same position a few months ago. I dropped the kids off at the hoikuen, did my standard checks (blindspots, mirrors, etc), shifted into reverse and only by the grace of God did I notice a small blur running behind my car.

A little 4 year old had seen one of her friends and let go of her mother's hand and ran ahead to greet her friend... running directly behind my car as I was about to pull out. She was COMPLETELY invisible behind my car (not even the top of her head was visible), and was only visible in my left hand mirror for a split second. If I hadn't glanced that way at just the right moment I would have hit her. The mother was carrying her younger brother (looked under a year old) and running up the street to catch her, but she was way out of my line of sight, a good 10 meters away.

These sort of accidents can happen so easily, and they're utter tragedies, but honestly I don't think we can make a judgement on who is to blame without a lot more information.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

i hv seen this a lot in Japan,i think the parents here are too careless with their children.they give their children so much freedom to roam around without minding their safety.drivers should not always take the blame they are human being nd are bound to make mistake also.if the driver should go to jail,the parents should go to jail also for negligency.3 years old kid,what are the parent thinking

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have to agree with the posters who are questioning the exact whereabouts of the parents. In Japan, I've seen parents let their small kids run ahead in busy streets and seen some cross (or rather, run across) the roads. In a place like Japan, whether the traffic lights are green or read, you can still get cars who ignore pedestrians. These parents just don't think. We're not talking about safety as in murder, but safety as in accidents caused by idiotic drivers who don't look or don't give a damn, or situations where people make an honest mistake.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What was the reason for the arrest? Sounds like a traffic accident to me, he didn't do anything with criminal intent based on the article.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"When questioned" by Japanese police is always suspicious. Probably "when bullied" is more appropriate. Also, @Cos, the article doesn't say he left the scene, did you get that from some other site? Parents, please look after your kids, especially near car parks

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Tetsujin With few exceptions, a driver who injures someone in a traffic accident--particularly but not only a pedestrian--is most likely going to be charged with "professional negligence resulting in injury" at least. If they kill someone, it may be manslaughter or "professional negligence resulting in death", depending on the circumstances.

We're talking serious jail time here, most likely in a prison specifically for traffic accident offenders, but possibly--again depending on the circumstances--in a regular prison.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even the Japanese police say that folk here have 'poor risk assessment'. I don't know why that is. The amazing chances I see parents taking with their kids astounds me: kids running into car parks, standing inside moving cars, mothers walking through a car park with kids wandering behind them, even toddlers not being carried across car parks.Both the death of a child and being the cause of it is a tragic event.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yo! Do any of you have a kid? I have a 2 and 1/2 year old. Last week Thursday, I was shopping with him and my wife. I always hold his hand everywhere we go, and in this particular incident, my son ran off following my wife to get ice, while I packed the groceries. A minute later, my wife asks me, "Where's .... (son's name?) Of course, I said, "I thought he was with you." I immediately went searching for him, frantically. My wife eventually found him in the parking lot of the supermarket, standing in the middle of the parking lot lanes. Goes to show you, no matter how vigilant of a parent you are, you cannot watch your child, or hold your child's hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Imagine that this situation happened in the park in Kanagawa! The parents, the driver and everyone would be horrified. RIP little one. And I am going to be even more vigilant in watching over my son! Peace.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Arniel Brown: While I agree with you that you cannot watch a small child 24/7 and accidents will always happen despite our best efforts to prevent then, there is a real culture difference here in terms of risk perception as @EbiKatsu mentions above.

Just yesterday, I was in the park and watched in disbelief as one of my neighbors left his two year old in the park by herself as he returned to his house. Now his house is right across the street and he can see the girl from the front door. He was only inside for a few seconds but obviously during that time the little girl walked to the edge of the park to see where here Daddy had gone and was having a good think about crossing the road to join him. It's a residential area and fortunately there were no cars around but I walked and stood by here just in case.

Since I had never even spoken to this neighbor before, and I did not want our first conversation to be an argument, when he emerged from his house I simply greeted him with "people drive down here so fast". His response: "Thanks for watching her, but she wanted her ball!"

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

jpnguy, so you've never spoken to your neighbor, but you know it's a 2 year old girl?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Thankfully the law doesn't care what you guys think about kids and parking lots. If you can't see everything behind your car, you EXIT YOUR VEHICLE AND CHECK. Then, if necessary you have someone help you out by waving. Which is quite common after all.

And most people do pay due attention where their kids go, since child abuctions is one of the few things many people worry about in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If you can't see everything behind your car, you EXIT YOUR VEHICLE AND CHECK.

Then you get back in, still can't see everything, go to back up, and a 3 year old darts in your way.

You don't drive do you?

And some advice to all you with small children. Don't hold their hand in a dangerous environment. They can slip out of your grip. Hold their wrist, and they won't get away.

Even better advice. Use the shopping carts kids can be strapped in. When faced the choice of carrying your kids or your heavy groceries, I say both. Push the cart to the car, unload, put the kids safely in their child seats, and if you are concerned about leaving them there while putting the cart back, ask a store employee to come with you to your car...or some respectable looking stranger like myself. Often we get the carts you left behind anyway.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

look before you back up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites