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3-year-old girl dies after being hit by car; driver arrested

30 Comments

Police in Iwamizawa, Hokkaido, have arrested a 25-year-old man on suspicion of dangerous driving resulting in death after his car hit and killed a three year-old girl.

The incident occurred at around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday on a narrow straight road that passes through a residential area, broadcaster NTV reported.

Police said Takuto Aigasa, a company employee, has admitted hitting the child with his vehicle.

Police said the child, Akari Kubo, who lived nearby, was riding a wooden playground bike without pedals when she was hit by the car.

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30 Comments
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was riding a wooden playground bike without pedals when she was hit by the car.

3-year-old on her bicycle without pedals nor break on public road, without her parent supervision now becoming drive fault?

-7 ( +25 / -32 )

Regardless of the circumstances, it’s always the driver’s fault in Japan. This automatic turning of the driver into a criminal isn’t really fair. If he was focused on his smartphone at the time for example then yes, but if she caused it by riding out from behind a parked car or something similar then no. Tragically though, many lives ruined.

17 ( +27 / -10 )

I couldn’t live with that.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

One of the reasons I wouldn't want to bring up children in Japan - too many places where you have to walk among the traffic.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Are drivers always automatically 'arrested' as part of the process, or are they arrested out of presumed guilt?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

sakurasuki

Today 07:08 am JST

3-year-old on her bicycle without pedals nor break on public road, without her parent supervision now becoming drive fault?

Are you suggesting it was the child's fault? Of course it's the driver's fault for not being fully aware of his surroundings.

When one accepts their driver's license they then assume responsibility for ALWAYS being aware of pedestrians, animals and other driver's around them.

Should rhe child's parents have been aware of her playing in a street? Yes, but the article doesn't say the parents weren't in the area. It does say the driver was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving. Speeding? Looking at his cell phone while driving? Just not paying attention? All the above? We don't know, and may never know. But what we do know is a 3 year old child is dead and a 25 year old man will have to live with the fact that he killed her, for the rest of his life

4 ( +18 / -14 )

Ken HolcombToday  09:03 am JST

3-year-old on her bicycle without pedals nor break on public road, without her parent supervision now becoming drive fault?

Are you suggesting it was the child's fault? Of course it's the driver's fault for not being fully aware of his surroundings.

Ken, you obviously don't drive a car! There are hundreds of places an unsupervised child on a "wooden bike with no pedals" can suddenly appear from nowhere. Don't make a judgement until you know the facts. This may very well not be the drivers fault.

7 ( +18 / -11 )

Was there a wrong behaviour of the driver? I would imagine the self guilt feeling of the young man is a life long heavy punishment if he was a good person. Unfortunately, accidents can happen especially in Japan with extremely poor, substandard roads.

In theory, nobody should ever over speed as it can result in such a sad tragedy, although the fact is that everyone in their lives must have exceeded road’s speed limits at sometime. I hope this is taken as a good lesson for all not to speed especially in residential areas. I am guessing speed was one of the factors in this tragedy.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This sort of situation almost happened to me. A child of about age 4 came out of nowhere from a parking lot and pedaled his bicycle right into the street. I had a split second to respond and swerved, barely missing hitting him. Upon looking back from my rearview mirror, the child was still astride the bike, toward the middle of the road, crying but unhurt. I was rattled too. Maybe the situation became apparent to him so he cried. I was tempted to stop and say something but thought better of it. That happened over 25 years ago on a road with no sidewalk and a total width of about 4 meters where there are many hidden entrances and no mirrors in that spot. All these years later, I still live in that area and the only thing that has changed is that they've painted a pedestrian walkway on that side. No thought goes into making driving easier and safer by illuminating the road, putting mirrors near concealed entrances, etc. Every time I pass that spot I remember that incident and I feel for this driver, and, obviously for the poor child. One question: Where were her parents or guardians? This happened on a road and the article doesn't state anything the driver did that was wrong as far as driving is concerned. He seems to be a victim of circumstance, as Japanese law always blames the driver even when there seems to be no real fault, intent, impairment, inattention, etc. A 3-year-old child should not be playing anywhere near a road and should never be out unsupervised. RIP.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

@Alongfortheride, @John, @Mocheake exactly.

@Ken Holcomb those kind of situation happened more than being reported, kids rushing out from nowhere. Even if that kids weren't using that bicycle without pedal they still can run quite fast and surprise a driver.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vyw15FzOTz8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBQ5m-OBn34

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

One of the reasons I wouldn't want to bring up children in Japan - too many places where you have to walk among the traffic.

Juat take care of kids..

No drama..

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

No one can make a judgment and Japanese law are indiscriminate.

There is no explanation while any minimal standard journalist practice should have at least reported the side story of the driver or person in charge of the poor child who died.

I raised children in Japan at that age and you got to be utterly foolish to let your child not in arm's range in a standard Japanese street with no pavement. It is a deathtrap.

A child can be run over even at 5 km/h...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

> TokyoLivingToday  11:29 am JST

One of the reasons I wouldn't want to bring up children in Japan - too many places where you have to walk among the traffic.

Juat take care of kids..

No drama..

No drama? Tell that to my wife - she will rant and rave about how drivers in these narrow lanes barely notice or care about kids and bikes are a constant threat.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Ken Holcomb.

Just because the victim of the accident was a child, it doesn't mean they weren't at fault (or their parents weren't at fault for not supervising them correctly). It's not always the driver's fault.

For example, if a child suddenly rides out between two parked cars right in to the path of an oncoming car and is tragically struck by the car, I fail to see why the driver should be arrested, named, shamed and accused of committing a crime.

Another example of Japan's incredibly strict and unfair legal system.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

He couldn't stop in time therefore he was traveling too fast. That is how the law works in Japan. This is Japan not the US or anywhere else. That is why he was arrested.

Driving in Japan carries some risks.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

> Mr KiplingToday  12:23 pm JST

He couldn't stop in time therefore he was traveling too fast. That is how the law works in Japan. This is Japan not the US or anywhere else. That is why he was arrested.

Driving in Japan carries some risks.

No kidding, It doesn't help that commercial drivers drive until exhaustion, it's common practice to speed well over the limit, run red lights and act like cross-walks are invisable.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

'Arrested' doesn't imply guilt. Of course the driver would be stopped and detained while the police investigate, especially because a death was involved.

In the course of the investigation, the police will try to establish all the facts, such as how fast the driver was going, presence (or not) of alcohol/drugs, the car's roadworthiness, visibility, and so on.

I don't doubt there will be a general charge such as reckless driving, but the severity of the punishment will depend on those factors. And some posters won't like this, but if you are driving through a residential area, with parked cars, park entrances, residential driveways etc, you should be awake to the possibility that a kid could come out of nowhere, and drive accordingly.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

3-year-old on her bicycle without pedals nor break on public road, without her parent supervision now becoming drive fault?

We don't have enough facts from the article to know whose fault it is. Its kind of irritating seeing everyone taking sides with either the driver or the kid's parents in the comments without all the facts.

The facts as presented in the article are consistent with this being either sides' fault (or both contributing to it) and we simply don't know enough to draw any conclusions. The kid might have suddenly raced out into the street from behind a wall, leaving even a careful driver travelling at a reasonable speed with no chance to avoid a collision in the narrow confines of the street. Or the child might have been perfectly visible on the straight road from a distance and the driver might have been distracted by a cell phone, or driving at a recklessly dangerous speed and hit the poor kid as a result of his own negligence.

I will say that nothing in the article says the kid was unsupervised at the time of the accident. Also if she was riding a "wooden playground bike without pedals" this doesn't sound like the type of thing a 3 year old would be able to ride with enough speed to suddenly shoot out into traffic with, though I could be mistaken.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hawk,

The police giving the driver's name to the media implies guilt and wrongdoing.

I don't understand or agree with this practice of naming people before they have been charged with a crime.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Stewart Gale,

Good call. He's not been found guilty in a court, is my point.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Also if she was riding a "wooden playground bike without pedals" this doesn't sound like the type of thing a 3 year old would be able to ride with enough speed to suddenly shoot out into traffic with, though I could be mistaken.

My four-year-old has a "Strider" bike which is a two-wheeler with no pedals. It's not made of wood though. She can develop quite a turn of speed, especially if there is a slight downhill gradient. I don't let her anywhere near the road unless she's within arm's reach. At the park's a different matter. I can't keep up with her, then.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ken Holcomb

Are you suggesting it was the child's fault? Of course it's the driver's fault for not being fully aware of his surroundings.

When one accepts their driver's license they then assume responsibility for ALWAYS being aware of pedestrians, animals and other driver's around them.

What a ridiculous thing to say. Of course, there are times when it wouldn't be the driver's fault.

If an animal or human suddenly darted into the street from some hidden place, it wouldn't be the driver's fault, as there would be no way to be aware of them. It would be the fault of whomever was hit, as tragic as that may be.

It's no different than if a car or bicycle suddenly came through a blind intersection or from a hidden driveway. Are you saying it's the driver's fault there, too, if they hit them? (Because it wouldn't be.)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

My four-year-old has a "Strider" bike which is a two-wheeler with no pedals. It's not made of wood though. She can develop quite a turn of speed, especially if there is a slight downhill gradient. I don't let her anywhere near the road unless she's within arm's reach. At the park's a different matter. I can't keep up with her, then.

Yeah, my kids rode one of those when they were about that age too. The fact that this is described as made out of wood makes me think its something different though.

The type and conditions of the road are really key. I live on a very quiet residential street that finishes in a dead end just a few doors down from us so we get zero through traffic. Plus there are no blind spots or curbs so when one of the neighbors cars is coming by you can see them far in advance. So we feel pretty safe letting our kids play outside, though if they are on the street we always have an adult present.

In contrast though the street that intersects ours at the end of our block is a total death trap for kids and you'd have to be nuts to let kids on it. Its a narrow, winding street that has no sidewalks and very poor visibility due to the curbs. Despite being way too narrow it gets a ton of through traffic and cars (mainly non-local) often whip down it at incredibly unsafe speeds. To get to our local park we have to walk along it and when I bring the kids I have to constantly be on alert, keeping them within reach in case a car comes by.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

rainyday,

Yeah, my kids rode one of those when they were about that age too. The fact that this is described as made out of wood makes me think its something different though.

I google image searched 'wooden playground bike no pedals' and some pretty speedy looking examples popped up.

But you're right. With no picture of the bike in this incident, it's all guess work.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Every Tuesday I drive home along a road that is used by many elementary school students walking home. The sidewalk is quite narrow, and as kids like to they walk 2 or three abreast. Sometimes one of the students will walk along the thin concrete block used to stop cars from entering the sidewalk. I am always so careful when driving along there, fearing if one of the children loses their balance or a friend were to shove them, boom, they are are in front of me and even though the speed limit is only 40km, and I try to drive below that along that stretch of road there would be no way I could stop in time. That is why it is too quick to blame the driver unless we know all the facts first!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The law may hold the driver accountable, but it wouldn't be justice if the parents or guardians weren't equally held responsible for causing the fatal situation to begin with through their negligence. It doesn't matter if they were a meter away from the toddler or nowhere in sight, it's there responsibility to maintain control at all times of a child so young.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The crazy way some drivers speed on these narrow Japanese streets makes this sort of tragedy a more regular occurrence than it should be! Slow down and be aware!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I doubt a driver could see a 3 year old, sitting on a play bike.....look over the bonnet net time you drive...a big black spot of zero vision immediately at the front.

Mother as negligent .

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I am truly surprised that there aren't more pedestrian injuries and deaths. I live in Yokohama and cars around here, including taxis, drive way too fast. It is an obstacle course on the streets.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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