crime

3-year-old girl hit and killed by car in Osaka; driver arrested

29 Comments

Police in Osaka said Saturday they have arrested the driver of a car that hit and killed a 3-year-old girl in Osaka.

According to police, the incident occurred in Sumiyoshi Ward at around 6:15 p.m. on Friday. TV Asahi reported that the girl, identified as Monami Shinjo, had just returned home from a drive with her grandfather and had got out of the car when she was hit and killed by an oncoming vehicle.

Monami was taken to hospital with severe injuries and died about three hours later, police said. Police said the driver of the vehicle, Tomomi Kumamoto, a 36-year-old child-care professional, has been charged with reckless driving resulting in death.

Police said that Monami was walking around the back of her grandfather's car to cross the narrow 5-meter wide road to go back into the house when she was hit by Kumamoto's car.

Kumamoto was quoted by police as saying she didn't see the child appear from behind her grandfather's car at first and when she did, she slammed on the brakes but it was too late, TV Asahi reported.

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29 Comments
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Poor poor lady, she must be beside herself. Every driver's nightmare scenario.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Horrible, my thoughts are with the girl and the driver.

Nothing in the article suggests why the driver was arrested besides hitting the girl. Accidents do happen. Was she speeding? What else?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I don't know why the cops feel they have to arrest every driver who hits someone here. Accidents happen and it would seem that this is all it was. Her profession as a Child care giver should go to helping her testimony. A few unanswered questions need to be asked.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why did the grandfather let a 3 year old exit a car and go around the car by herself on a road where there is traffic.

13 ( +14 / -2 )

Kaimycahl, my thoughts exactly. No three year old child should ever be on a street unsupervised. The grandfather bears responsibility and the woman driving the car should be released. Tragic situation all the way around, however. RIP.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

kaimycahl Why did the grandfather let a 3 year old exit a car and go around the car by herself on a road where there is traffic.

Precisely. From my observation - Japanese parents and Grnad parents are too lax allowing their toddler and preschooler to run all over without due care on the streets. .....This is not longer Japan of the 1950's . . The responsibility lays on the Grandfather i n this case.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

reckless driving resulting in death.

When a kid appears a meter from the front of your car from behind a car and you hit them it isn't "reckless driving", it is "physics".

I see situations like these every day. Someone just stops their car on the side of the road and as a driver I'm forced to suddenly slow to a crawl because I can't see who might step from behind the car, my view of oncoming traffic is obstructed and of course I'm trying to scan for all the normal hazards like kids on bikes, jaywalkers, etc.

This is why my car doors are child-locked and it is impossible for the children to get out until I let them out, and I hold their hand from the moment they get out of the car to the moment we're safely inside the store, park, home, etc.

Maybe there are some missing facts? Was she speeding or did she not go around the car?

I feel very sorry for the child's parents, but the grandfather should have been holding this child's hand every step of the way. Even 6 years old is too young to cross a road unaccompanied.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

People are too careless with their kids in Japan. It only takes a spilt second and the toddler is dead. Toddlers have zero road sense. Of course, I feel sorry for the family, but I also feel sorry for the driver.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This sounds to me like just plain wrong place, wrong time, and a little kid being a little kid in a dangerous place. It doesn't sound at all to me that the woman was driving recklessly, and now, a CHILDCARE worker, has to live with the death of a child on her hands, even though it was not her fault. Gramps could have done a better job keeping her with him, but again, kids will be kids. Just last night I saw a grandfather and grandson walking IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD to get to their illegally parked car after picking up a bento (though were outside "The Bento Station") and the kid was bouncing around on the median line while grandpa opened the door. Fortunately the few cars coming in the opposite direction slowed down to a crawl until the kid got in the car. RIP to the little girl. It's summer now, and so now is the time you have to be more careful than ever with kids playing on the streets.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

People whiz around narrow streets in cars, oblivious to this kind of danger.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@kaimycahl

A 5 meter wide road is pretty narrow, barely wide enough for 2 going in the opposite direction to pass each other (to give some context). Yet, if she had to slam on her brakes to stop, she must have been going too fast for that type of road. But at the end of the day, its the parent's responsibility to makes sure that their kid's are safe. Taking their eye off of a 3 year old crossing the road is really dumb!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I once watched a little boy run from between two parked cars right into the side of a car that was, fortunately, driving by slowly. He was uninjured from the impact with the car, but fell backwards and hit his head on the curb. He left in an ambulance. I really felt bad for the driver. It was not his fault, and there was absolutely no way he could have avoided it, but it probably cost him a lot.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In these cases, there is something that you have to know about Japan: the bigger one always gets blamed, regardless of who is actually at fault.

For example, if a car collides with a motorbike, then the driver of the car will be blamed.

If a motorbike hits a bicycle, then the bike driver will be blamed.

And if a bicycle hits a pedestrian, then the cyclist will be blamed.

It's always the "bigger" ones fault. That's just the way it is here.

Why did the grandfather let a 3 year old exit a car and go around the car by herself on a road where there is traffic?

I'd like to know that, too. Most Japanese streets are incredibly narrow and lacking in proper pavements. We've all had experiences of being in homes or shops where you didn't even dare open the front door without checking for traffic first, let alone in vehicles.

My sympathies to everyone involved in this sad case, including the driver.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I don't know why the cops feel they have to arrest every driver who hits someone here. Accidents happen and it would seem that this is all it was. Her profession as a Child care giver should go to helping her testimony. A few unanswered questions need to be asked

I think it's a good way of doing things myself. Treat every accident as being the fault of reckless driving until an investigation reveals the opposite. Much better than the New York way where a cabbie rammed into a cyclist that annoyed him, jumped the curb and landed on a pedestrian, severing her leg. He wasn't arrested on the spot nor charged.

This situation is terrible, but a driver should know enough to slow down to a crawl when passing a stopped car on a very narrow street. At what speed was the driver going?

And even if I'm in favor of letting kids roam more, a 3-year-old shouldn't be left without supervision on the street, especially near a stopped car where visibility is low.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Introduce traffic calming. it works a treat across Europe, and lets communities reclaim the streets as community spaces, not racetracks.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kchozeJul. 20, 2014 - 03:09PM JST This situation is terrible, but a driver should know enough to slow down to a crawl when passing a stopped car on a very narrow street. At what speed was the driver going?

Do you even live in Japan? I do and I've traveled most of Japan. Almost everywhere apart Tokyo (which isn't really Japan) the Japanese (especially older Japanese) park in the street. Come to the town where I live and photograph ANY street (even those really narrow one-car ones) and you'll find some idiot has parked their car either in the road or partially in the road (e.g. nose of the car poking out).

This creates a hellishly dangerous situation, because even if you're going at "a crawl" (let's say 20km/hr) it still takes half a second to react (if you can even see the kid - and some kids are small enough that you can't), and then another second or so for the car's brakes to work... by which time the kid has been hit by the car. And with a ton of car that's still going to be fatal.

Cars are inherently dangerous, and I'm all for drivers being responsible and taking every precaution, but it is, so-to-speak, a two-way street, and pedestrians are also responsible for exercising the absolute minimum of common sense, or in the case of children their guardians should be the ones exercising common sense.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Do they teach road safety in Japan to children? if not may be they should.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Frungy: Absolutely agree with you. I HATE how people here park on the streets (when there's no side-walk), or on the sidewalk and half on the street if there is a sidewalk in place and you have to walk into the middle of the road to get around them. This one is completely on the grandparent, but the driver will ultimately take the charge because she was in a car.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Totally agree with Frungy too. Japanese roads can be hell. No pavements/cars parked illegally anywhere & everywhere/bicycles coming at u from both directions on both sides. However the article clearly doesn't give enough info on the circumstances of the accident. The speed of the driver ? Did the kid rush out or walk around the back of the car ? Where was the grandpa at the time of impact ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We all know how "most" Japanese grandparents/parents are when it comes to the road and children. Like most of you guys on here, I am a preschool teacher (or in education).

I've seen with my own eyes almost every day children walking with their parents, not holding hands and running around the street like it is a park. I've seen kids that are oblivious to the dangers around them. Walking and talking with eyes on the ground as they stray onto incoming traffic.

The question is, why didn't the grandparent do what EVERY person must do when taking a 3 year old minor in the car?

Instructions are:

  1. Fasten child in child seat.
  2. Apply child lock to door.
  3. On arrival to destination, remove your own seat belt.
  4. Walk around to the door where the child is seated.
  5. Open the door disabling the child lock.
  6. Un-buckle the child seat.
  7. Pick up the child in your arms or hold their hands.
  8. Safely remove child from the car while checking if all clear.
  9. Walk child to safe location.

Is it that freaking hard? No it's not. It's common sense, but sadly most Japanese parents do not have common sense and I am surprised more people here don't die daily from road accidents.

Parents need to have mandatory classes on how to care for children in this country, because this accident could have been avoided.

I see nothing about the person speeding in this article, only that they hit a little 3 year old. It says nothing to me except that this driver had nothing she could do to not hit this child. YES most Japanese speed around little streets, but their is no mention of that here.

It seems just like another wasted life of a beautiful little kid that could have been helped with a little common sense.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's ridiculous arresting the driver all the time, it seems like an accident. If anything it was negligent letting a small child cross the road unattended

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Another day, another dead child because of stupid minders and another driver who has to live with the guilt of a killing a child in a preventable accident. I get tired of drives being blamed for poor child supervision.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

We can't point the finger yet if we only have the driver's testimony.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cortes Elijah - I'm afraid your post contains far too many common sense initiatives.

As such, they would surely fall on the publics deaf ears.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Reckless driving" is a convenient catch-all when someone is struck by a vehicle. No matter how slow you were going, the fact that you hit someone means you were "reckless". Is it fair? Not at all. In this case a 15-meter-wide road with a parked vehicle blocking half of it means the driver trying to get by was probably concentrating on not hitting the parked car or whatever was on the other side of the road. A three year old would most likely be completely masked by the parked car until she came around the car. No warning was possible. Even if driving under 5kph you probably wouldn't stop in time by the time you saw the girl.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cortes, Spot on!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Is it that freaking hard? No it's not. It's common sense, but sadly most Japanese parents do not have common sense and I am surprised more people here don't die daily from road accidents.

Using common sense logic, the reason why "more people here don't die daily from road accidents" is because most Japanese parents do have common sense for I sincerely doubt these kids are lucky 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Cortes ElijahJUL. 21, 2014 - 06:52AM JST.

Instructions are:

Fasten child in child seat . Apply child lock to door.

On arrival to destination, remove your own seat belt.

Walk around to the door where the child is seated.

Open the door disabling the child lock.

Un-buckle the child seat.

Pick up the child in your arms or hold their hands.

Safely remove child from the car while checking if all clear.

Walk child to safe location.

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Hey above works for older people who get a ride. When my children give me a ride, they do exactly above instructions. They hold my arm, then slowly walk with me together. I am not 3 years old, though..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A three year old shouldn't be getting out the car by herself plain and simple. These people are not very careful in this country at all!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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