crime

8-year-old girl killed by bus; driver arrested

88 Comments

Police said Monday they have arrested a bus driver in Tokyo over the death of an eight-year-old girl on the street in Edogawa Ward.

According to police, the girl was skateboarding behind the bus and ran into it when it stopped at a pedestrian crossing at around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. She was dragged beneath the bus and suffered severe head injuries. She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead about one hour later, TBS reported.

The driver, who has been named as 49-year-old Sadaji Ozawa, was charged with negligent driving resulting in injury and death in connection with the incident, police said. Ozawa was quoted by police as saying he didn't notice that anything had happened.

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It was a pedestrian crossing -- it doesn't matter how small the girl was, he should have been going slow and taken notice. The only way I can see this not being negligence is if she suddenly darted out from behind an illegally parked car or something. Even then he'd still be charged, but still. RIP to the little girl... FAR too many people being killed in traffic related deaths these days.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

ccording to police, the girl was skateboarding across a street at a pedestrian crossing at around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday when she was run over by the bus. She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead about one hour later, TBS reported.

Notice that she was crossing a pedestrian crossing, and still, she was struck! There are more deathtraps than crossings it seems to me. Some people don't seem to respect human life. Especially that of a child. How come I have driven for over 15 years and still not once have I hit a human being...let alone a child. Maybe because I pay attention to nothing except the road in front and around me perhaps? That said, I'm far from being a perfect driver but I don't let anything distract me. Driving is very dangerous and its my responsibility to pay attention to the road, period.

Ozawa was quoted by police as saying he didn’t notice the girl.

Yeah, they all say the same garbage...FFS.

RIP little girl

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Not saying the driver isn't to blame but kids shouldn't ride skateboards across pedestrian crossings, especially not 8 year-olds. If the kid did ride onto the crossing without stopping, I can see how such an accident could easily happen. Having said that, I also notice that many cars don't seem to slow down or stop at pedestrian crossings.

12 ( +15 / -2 )

Franchesca Miara:

" Ozawa was quoted by police as saying he didn’t notice the girl. Yeah, they all say the same garbage...FFS. "

Oh come on. Are you seriously claiming he ran her over on purpose? That is ridiculous.

21 ( +22 / -2 )

WilliBMAY. 07, 2012 - 04:18PM JST Franchesca Miara:

" Ozawa was quoted by police as saying he didn’t notice the girl. Yeah, they all say the same garbage...FFS. "

Oh come on. Are you seriously claiming he ran her over on purpose? That is ridiculous.

It's MIYARA with "Y" ;-) Who cares if it was in purpose or not. I sure as hell don't. He killed that little girl. He is GUILTY to me. And certainly, he must PAY for what he has done. If I ever kill someone with me car, throw the whole book at me. I would have the honor and moral to plead guilty and receive the entire punishment, just so you know.

I can't even imagine the pay her parent(s) must be feeling right now. How terrible!

-17 ( +4 / -21 )

@serendipitous: I was told that pedestrian crossings have no meaning, Pedestrians should always until all car pass or wait until a car stops to let pedestrians pass. Not sure if this is true or not I have since then always waited. Japanese traffic rules are a bunch of unwritten rules sometimes. rip to the girl btw, way too young.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This has been happening too much lately.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ooppss...Sorry, two typos above: It should have read:

"If I ever kill someone with MY car.."

'imagine the PAIN her parent(s).."
-11 ( +2 / -13 )

papigiulioMAY. 07, 2012 - 04:31PM JST

@serendipitous: I was told that pedestrian crossings have no meaning, Pedestrians should always until all car pass or wait until a car stops to let pedestrians pass. Not sure if this is true or not I have since then always waited. Japanese traffic rules are a bunch of unwritten rules sometimes. rip to the girl btw, way too young.

Very true indeed. Here cars are above human beings. Do not wait till the light goes blue, instead make sure no car is coming before you cross. And check all around before you do!

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

let them investigate it thoroughly. a pedestrian crossing can have a light too. it could have been red light right? gone are the day when pedestrians always had the right of way.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yes, be watchfull, but it was an eigth year old, they are kinda impulsive at that age. And the Bus driver should have been more careful near a pedastrian crossing. R.I.P. Little one

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

8 years girl,skateboard, crossing with busses ? Problem is, none here is taught to look both sides before crossing ( I sure was when I was small both in school and by parents ) I ride a road bike and notice it every day, people are like zombies and will cross obliviously even at red light in fact every time I see people thinking to cross, I need to slow down regardless of my green light.

Its darn easy for a bus not to see small little kid darting across at last minute.

and he is the one needing to live with the guilt, so unless on purpose I feel more sorry for the driver!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It is a pedestrian crossing, not a skateboarder's crossing... Regardless how careful one drives, if a skateboarder suddenly darts in front of an incoming bus, the skateboarder will be hit. How did the police suspect negligence? Do they have a camera recording of what actually happened, and how long was the driver's reaction time? This is the only way to prove guilt here.

FYI pedestrian means strictly "walking"....

2 ( +6 / -4 )

ebisen:

" Do they have a camera recording of what actually happened, and how long was the driver's reaction time? This is the only way to prove guilt here. "

I understand the rule her is that the bigger vehicle is always at fault, and pedestrian never. So if someone jumps in front of your car and gives you no chance to brake, you are still at fault. It is a scary place to drive a vehicle.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Tragic but not surprising. No one stops for crosswalks, kids don't look before they venture on the street, police don't ticket people who don't stop nor slow down. All around a huge mess. How many more people have to die from these accidents before the public and the government pull their heads' from their butts and do something?

Why not start with having police ticket people who don't stop for crosswalks while people are waiting? Let alone running lights, driving through stop signs, speeding...

Why not have the cops head to the ele schools to give safety talks? Why not have parents actually teach their kids AND actually show their kids what to do? How many daft adults out there have walked into the street and not looked with their kids?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Sad all around. I hate to play the "blame" game but yeah, the bus driver should have "anticipated" someone crossing at the Ped Xing. Sad, just sad.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Who knows? She could have suddenly zipped out, he could have been watching ahead not to the side, or after 30 years driving the same route wishing someone would shot him. Odds are...what? Repeditve actions result in negative outcomes add a 8yo on a skate board its a recipe for disaster. Taking nothing away from the tragedy. A death is a lose and a disaster for the family and driver. Think grief counseling is perhaps more in order and a restructuring of work practices.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Pedestrian crossings mean nothing in Japan. I surprised there aren't more incidents like this. They just don't stop at crossings.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Pedestrian crossings mean nothing everywhere. There are bad drivers in every country, not least of all Japan.

Checking should always be done before crossing any road, under any circumstance, whether it be a traffic light controlled crossing, a plain zebra-line crossing or a jay-walk. This isn't a rule, this isn't about right of way. This is about safety.

All vehicles should stop or slow down when approaching designated pedestrian crossings or traffic lights. Even if it says green for cars, you should brake to a reasonable speed and then hit the accelerator only after you've cleared the junction. This isn't a rule, this isn't about right of way. This is about safety.

Yet where in the world can you find a road where every single vehicle and every single pedestrian performs these safety tasks? No where. Wherever you go, there will be people who are in a rush, people who don't care, people who feel the road should be theirs, or people who have performed these tasks every time except that one single time when they think "Oh, it'll be fine."

A tragedy is a tragedy, and the death cannot be undone. As a reader of this tragic news, I am saddened. Condolences to the family. Condolences to the driver, who's life is almost certainly going to be ruined. Whether or not he deserves this is up to debate, but the loss of a life and the ruination of another is pretty much set in stone. I can only hope a handful more people reading this will be motivated to perform such safety checks for every single time they use their own roadways from now on. Good day to the rest of you.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Disillusioned: "Pedestrian crossings mean nothing in Japan. I surprised there aren't more incidents like this. They just don't stop at crossings."

Agree, and Franchesca Miyara Yang said as much in an earlier post. In Japan the automobile reigns king, and has since the 70s at least, hence roads were widened for cars without providing for, or predicting it'd be needed, adequate space for pedestrians and/or bicycles. Pedestrian crossings? Ha! Only when they are accompanied by street lights are they SLIGHTLY safer (many still go through the red). If it's just one of those random 'zebra' crossings out there then it's literally up to the pedestrian to wait and see if the car is slowing down. I've been getting bolder and started crossing when cars are a certain way back, knowing they would have to slow down, but it almost got me hit the other day by a taxi (and no, I didn't just pop onto the street; looked both ways and it was clear what I was going to do).

That said, in this case if there WERE traffic lights at this particular crossing and the girl darted out on her skateboard against a red, I can understand a LITTLE bit how the driver wouldn't notice until it was too late, but otherwise I still see negligence.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Are bus drivers not the one element of drivers we should trust and put faith into? Are they not supposed to be "trained" professionals? Even the thought of losing my little 8 year old drives me crazy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This SOB bus driver in Edogawa!! I was just in Edogawa yesterday, my wife is from Edogawa and this really, really pisses me off! Poor little girl, 8 years old, same age as my oldest son who spent all of Golden Week with his ojiichan and obaachan, luckily they had a great time, so sad for this poor little girl getting killed by a stupid bus driver out in Edogawa. RIP poor little girl CROSSING THE STREET AT A CROSS WALK.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

I'm tired of sad news. I'm going back to my comic books.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This could have been the bus driver speeding and not paying attention (its not like it doesnt happen every minute of the day). It could have been the girl jumping out of nowhere and going across the crossing on her skateboard (again - happens all the time). I suspect maybe a combo of both.

I am with jojo - the thought of losing my 8 year old also drives me crazy. But my 8 year old (and I am guessing jojos from the passion in his/her words) would never be in this situation. Knowing drivers here as most of us do, would you let your 8 year old out alone skateboarding across roads that are regular bus routes? I certainly wouldnt. (Assuming of course there wasnt an adult present to make her get off her skateboard and cross?!)

2 ( +5 / -3 )

So Sad.... God bless her little heart...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It was a pedestrian crossing -- it doesn't matter how small the girl was, he should have been going slow and taken notice. The only way I can see this not being negligence is if she suddenly darted out from behind an illegally parked car or something.

Exactly.... I don't know what kind of mentality these bus drivers here in Japan have, but it's like they actually believe that they own the road, and God help you, if you step one foot out into that street, What ever happened to "Pedestrians Always have the right of way...?" I guess they've somehow managed to reverse that Law here in Japan, as to Read, "Bus and Truck Drivers Always have the right of way..."

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Everyone is blaming the driver, or the girl. What about the parents who thought it was ok for their little 8 year old to zip along clearly dangerous roads on a skateboard?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Too sad! Where are the Parents and why are they not taking some responsibility.Likely he didn't see her.Start locking up negligent Parents and we might see fewer stories like this.RIP

2 ( +3 / -1 )

if you step one foot out into that street, What ever happened to "Pedestrians Always have the right of way...?"

Did you notice the driver was instantly arrested?

What I want to know is, what happened to the magic brakes that stop a vehicle in mere inches? And I am not even declaring anyone to be at fault here, but making up a rule on paper that pedestrians always have the right of way no matter what they do does not actually help us here in the real world. It makes the cop's job real easy though, and that is about it. I hope for a complete investigation, but this is Japan, and it won't happen.

I don't know what happened exactly, but if I were to throw in a wild guess like everybody else, I will guess the girl was going straight down the sidewalk with no indication of making a turn, bus behind her. Then she turned and tried to stop at the crosswalk, but failed to stop for losing balance or missed trying to grab a pole or whatever and went right in front of the bus. But the hell knows? Just because the headline says she was crossing does not mean she was intentionally and properly crossing. In fact, the article is near meaningless for knowing anything beyond a girl got killed by a bus and the driver was arrested.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How come I have driven for over 15 years and still not once have I hit a human being...let alone a child.

You won't believe this, but most of us haven't! 9 times out of 10 when it happens, bad luck was a major factor. Just hope yours does not run out or you will be hoist on your own petard.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

OMGhontini, to quote Cat Stevens, where do the children play? Blaming the parents is despicable in my book. Suggesting they put the child in harm's way for monetary gain comes from a different type of mind. Maybe they can use this case in a psychological test to weed out unfit drivers.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If, as some are writing here, pedestrian crossings in Japan have no meaning and it is basically an unwritten rule that pedestrians are supposed to wait for no vehicles to be around (and not vice versa where vehicles are supposed to make sure no pedestrians are around), then according to that logic, the kid is at fault here, right? Sounds like it's time to make it an enforceable rule that all vehicles have to slow down to 20 or 30km/h before any pedestrian crossing that doesn't have traffic lights. The police (government) would make a fortune out of it and many lives would be saved.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Serendipitous, I completely agree. It would be much more profitable than waiting at the lights for someone to cross the yellow lines and might save a few people's lives. There are plenty of crosswalks in Japan where I can't see adults coming because of the bushes/buildings/fences/trucks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ManBearPigMAY. 07, 2012 - 07:47PM JST

How come I have driven for over 15 years and still not once have I hit a human being...let alone a child.

You won't believe this, but most of us haven't! 9 times out of 10 when it happens, bad luck was a major factor. Just hope yours does not run out or you will be hoist on your own petard.

And your point is? What? Trying to send a curse my way? LOL This is NOT the United States. this is Japan. Here, CARS are above Pedestrians. Driving is not a right, is a privilege and one must take extreme precaution when doing so.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

In theory, drivers are not supposed to go through pedestrian crosswalks while there are pedestrians anywhere in the crosswalk, regardless of how close or far they are from the car, even on major/wide thoroughfares. They are supposed to wait until the crosswalk is completely clear. This is often impractical (think about it), so many/most drivers don't strictly follow the rule, but the police can and will ticket you for it if they feel like it.

Also in theory, bicyclists and skateboarders or others on vehicles are supposed to dismount when crossing at pedestrian crossings. Very few strictly follow this rule, either.

With the narrow roads and poor visibility, perhaps exacerbated by abrupt entry into the crosswalk, I can imagine that the bus driver might not have seen the poor girl...there are a lot of things to watch for on Tokyo streets, and not all of them can be seen at once or, unfortunately, in time.

I feel sorry for the girl, and wish the driver had been able to avoid hitting her. I think that eight is too young to be skateboarding through intersections, though, too.

There really isn't enough information to make a judgment about who was really at fault, but if you're a driver here, you're automatically at fault if you hit a pedestrian, regardless, and you can expect to be arrested for professional negligence at least. Manslaughter charges may follow. Conviction may depend on the circumstances (who had the green or red light, for example), but it's pretty close to a foregone conclusion if you kill someone.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Okay, I hear what everyone's saying about pedestrian's having the right of way in a crosswalk. You're all absolutely correct.

From the charges being levelled against the driver, it seems it wasn't a situation of him ignoring a traffic signal to stop and allow the pedestian to pass. We all know the one I'm talking about, it has a push button call-box on both sides of the street and the light flashes a constant cautionary yellow until someone comes along to push the button. They're everywhere.

If it was one of these, then the girl may not have pushed the button and just rolled out into the street.

If it wasn't one those though, but rather a crosswalk at which pedestrians must waiting until traffic is clear before crossing, then that's an entirely different story. If she simply rode her skateboard into the crosswalk -- not at all unlike running into the street -- without checking for traffic, then she made a tragic and fatal misjudgement. And the driver af that bus is going to have to live with her death for the remainder of his life, no small thing, I can assure you.

I'll say it outright: Japan could go a heck a lot further towards educating the general public that stepping into a crosswalk -- any crosswalk -- does not magically negate the local laws of physics and allow a ten, five, or even 1-ton vehicle to stop on a dime the second a person steps into its path, just because the law says, "If you hit a pedestrian, you're automatically at fault."

I can't count the number of people I've seen who just stepped off the sidewalk, the speed of oncoming traffic be damned, and simply expected traffic to screech to a halt. Which it did, almost causing a pileup behind.

I can't count the number of cyclists I've almost hit because they wore Japan's laws governing the sovereignty of pedestians over wheeled vehicles like a magical suit of armor, as if that could protect you from a car going even 30 kph through an intersection

It's absolutely shocking how little regard pedestrians have for their own safety when walking or cycling about Japan.

I imagine this little girl -- despite being taugh ad nauseum by the elementary school she attended that a child must first stop at the intersection, raise a hand in the air to indicate to approaching vehicles that she intends to cross, and then cross when she's confirmed traffic has stopped for her -- probably saw countless other children and adults just step out into the street, without obeying even the most rudimentary rules of common-freakin-sense, and figured, "Well, they made it through okay. I'll be fine too."

Yeah, I'm a little pissed off about this, not at this poor little girl who likely did what she did because she watched others do it too, but rather at adults across Japan in general adopting a "Do as I say, not as I do" attitude rather than leading by example.

So many here want to lump the blame on this bus driver who, it bears noting, has received far more safety driving instruction than the average driver in Japan, when the blame falls squarely on society's head. You, me, the guy down the block, the kid who blows through a stop sign on his bike while we sit back and utter nary a peep.

Literal interpretation of the law doesn't make a society safer. People working together does.

I hear what you're saying from an emotional standpoint, Franchesca, but here's my emotional reponse to your "Who cares if it was in purpose or not. I sure as hell don't." stance: Nonsense. Utter nonsense. There's no substitution for the reasonable application of common sense, and I'll be damned if I'm going the spend the next 50 years having nightmares about a kid I might have killed because he or she chose stupidity instead.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

from the Japanese news, it was a traffic light, and the bus was turning left when the girl crossed on the skateboard. and yes, it is illegal to cross on a skateboard or even bicycle (excepts those that have a specialized lane). it's very difficult to assume guilt in this case (I know, I almost ran over a kid on a bicycle in a similar situation, less he had red), and I hope the police will thoroughly investigate all the circumstances.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Timeon, well said. I drive and I bike here. I have had to slam on my brakes numerous times because of people crossing on reds or flashing, people who have popped out of no where. I can 100% understand how someone can get hit on a crosswalk. Just as I can understand that as a biker and a pedestrian, some drivers are just lunatics. Can we stop putting the blame on ONE person and see that the issue with safety here is with all parties?

If the police bothered to get off their butts and ticket bad drivers, bad bikers, bad cyclists and bad pedestrians, Japan could get out of debt!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So sad news. RIP !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@LFRAgain - I hear you. Accidents will always happen, and people will always judge afterwards how they could have been avoided, usually by trying to apportion blame to someone or something. As you mention, bus drivers have had to pass a lot of safety training, and generally, I find them to be the most cooperative group of drivers on Tokyo's roads - focused on smooth flow of traffic and safety. They also tend to drive slowly at corners, etc for the comfort of passengers.

More info is needed before anyone here can assess the guilt or otherwise of the driver. What I don't really understand is the TV pictures focusing on the back bumber (side) of the bus.

I saw a horrible sight this evening too, an 18 mth old toddler running very happily towards a fumikiri. Mother was talking to friends about a 100m away. Odd things was, most people didn't even notice him. I stopped him just 5m from the crossing, and have no idea what he would have done if I hadn't been there - would he have the sense to stop? Or would his curiosity get the better of him?. Had the worst happened, there would be outcry that fumikiri's in Japan are not safe enough or similar.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yeah, yeah, yeah, defend the driver all you like, but he failed to see the girl. She was on a skateboard, だから なんだ?(So what?) The fact is, pedestrian crossings at lights or on streets are for people, yes PEOPLE, to get across roads safely without some dim witted buttwad racing through the intersection cos he/she can't waste ten seconds of their miserable lives! I have been hit by cars four times in the Japan in the last decade. Twice on crossings. Truck 'em! I hope this driver goes to jail for a very long time! Regardless of the circumstances!

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Automobile drivers killed by non-drivers: ZERO. Non-drivers killed by automobile drivers: a lot, and seemingly increasing every day.

When one party is in control of something (not just cars and buses, but knives and guns too) that can kill other human beings with a moment of negligence on anyone's part, then that party has to be the responsible one when interacting with human beings.

And that goes double when the "dangerous device" is restricted to certain classes of human beings. Some people will never have the privilege of driving a car or bus due to the way they were born. Expecting these people to always yield the right of way to an automobile, or bear the primary responsiblity for avoiding a collision, is like making them legally second-class citizens. Is that the kind of society we want to live in?

It's bad enough that pedestrians can only cross roads at pedestrian crossings that might be hundreds of meters apart -- and this girl was using one of them!

Sorry, Mr. Bus Driver: if you can't bear the responsibility of operating your dangerous vehicle, then don't operate it. There are plenty of people who will never have the privilege that you have. And now there are even more grieving relatives who would still have their loved one if not for your bus.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Disillusioned: biking or walking? Is this the main source of your disillusionment? No disrespect intended, and I hope you don't have any permanent damage. My hand still hurts from a car mirror 20 years ago in DC (not in a crosswalk... so mea culpa).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@disillusioned

Truck 'em! I hope this driver goes to jail for a very long time! Regardless of the circumstances!

Wow, strong stuff. Does any of the circumstances you disregard include the one where he is completely innocent? It is really hard to guess (that is all we can do at this point) what happened. Look at the TV footage, it shows a bus almost passed the crossing, and police focusing on the back bumper which is dented.

Skateboarding and cycling over PEDESTRIAN crossing is illegal for a reason, it is dangerous. There was no cycle "lane" at these lights.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Too many rude and just plain drivers here in Japan, hence we have this type of horrible death of a young child. RIP little girl out in Edogawa.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

vinnyfav:

Pedestrian crossings mean nothing everywhere. There are bad drivers in every country, not least of all Japan.

Yeah, sure, if by everywhere you mean places like China and India. But we all know the Japanese do not like be compared to 'other Asians'. They want to be among the western crowd, and if you put them next to USA and UK, then the vast majority of Japanese shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car. I don't know where you're from, but in the UK, when you see someone crossing, you stop your car. No buts, whether it's a crossing with no traffic lights or whether the pedestrian lights are green. I've never had a problem in USA either. Maybe it's the fear of being sued, but cars keep their distance too. Until the mindset of Japanese drivers, pedestrians and cyclists change, they can put themselves in the same category as the Chinese. I'll never understand why they have pedestrian crossings here without lights. Cars don't stop. I've lost count the number of times cars have tried not to let me cross, despite the pedestrian lights being green and the fact that I've already stepped onto the road.

Ironically, I think bus drivers here are the most careful. Maybe in this case the bus driver really didn't see the kid until it was too late, but in my experiences, the drivers can damn well see me. There are times when I wish I had a brick handy. Scum maybe a harsh word to call these drivers but if they have little respect for other people's safety, then that's what they are.

And it doesn't help that the police are lazy and incompetent.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There, but for the grace of God, go I. Or something like that. Any one of us could have been caught out by a speedy 8 year old crossing the road on a scateboard, even it were a pedestrian crossing. I weep for the little girl, but I feel sorry for the driver too.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@patrick smash - were you a witness? The current info is that she was boarding downhill, she hit the middle to rea of the bus and then went under. No indications that the driver was in any way speeding, if he was, then the 20 people on board would have been injured as turning 90degrees at speed in a bus is no small affair.

Currently we do not have enough info to judge the drivers guilt, and quite rightly people are pointing out that maybe, just maybe, the girl played her part in this very tragic accident. Current public opinion on buses is such that the Police may have arrested him as a play to make it seem like they are doing their job. He may well have been negligent but WE just don't know.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Zebra crossings mean nothing anywhere? Nonsense. UK drivers always stop. I have no fear for my life on zebra crossings in England. In Japan? I wait and wait and wait. People stop if they feel like it. It is my pet hate in this country. Not surprised this bus driver killed this poor girl, only surprised it was not a taxi driver. They are the worst. I see drivers run red lights every day in Japan. I hardly ever saw it in the UK. There is a massive problem here and a lot of people drive big cars like they do not give a damn about pedestrians or cyclists. Speedy? Why do you say that Adrian? How fast is an 8 year old capable of going? We do not know that she zipped out in front of him. It was perhaps truly just a sad accident and the driver was unfortunate. The fact remains, however, that there is a problem here and perhaps police should spend more time watching out for bad driving rather than cyclists parking in the wrong place. I saw two cops parked outside a supermarket for three hours today checking on cyclists. Ridiculous.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I almost got rear-ended today when I stopped at a crossing to let two high school students go across. The guy behind me was gesticulating as if I were to blame for his decision to follow too close while reading his fu#(ing cell phone. There are idiots everywhere, you just have to hope you won't meet a real carrot (Welsh Reference here).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Japanese news have been updated: the little girl was skating downhill and she slammed into the back side of the bus, subsequently being caught under the rear wheel. I can't really see how one can blame the driver here, it's almost impossible to prevent something like this

13 ( +13 / -0 )

smithinjapan: Disillusioned: "Pedestrian crossings mean nothing in Japan. I surprised there aren't more incidents like this. They just don't stop at crossings." Agree, and Franchesca Miyara Yang said as much in an earlier post. In Japan the automobile reigns king,

Then shame on people that cross when they should know cars won't stop.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@LFRAgain

I hear what you're saying from an emotional standpoint, Franchesca, but here's my emotional reponse to your "Who cares if it was in purpose or not. I sure as hell don't." stance: Nonsense. Utter nonsense. There's no substitution for the reasonable application of common sense, and I'll be damned if I'm going the spend the next 50 years having nightmares about a kid I might have killed because he or she chose stupidity instead.

Good to know that YOU can live and have a life after killing a kid with your car, I'm dead-sure I wouldn't. Even if such kid jumped right in front of me. Pure accident or deliberate?..a kid is a kid. I know its very easy to say such things when its not your own child being run over like a dog by truck or bus.

By the way, this is Japan...the emotional "utter nonsense" doesn't work here as it does in the U.S. with their "boys don't cry" bs. Here both men and women are indeed emotional ;-) Cheers.

-15 ( +0 / -14 )

Pukey2MAY. 07, 2012 - 10:13PM JST

vinnyfav:

Pedestrian crossings mean nothing everywhere. There are bad drivers in every country, not least of all Japan.

Yeah, sure, if by everywhere you mean places like China and India. But we all know the Japanese do not like be compared to 'other Asians'. They want to be among the western crowd, and if you put them next to USA and UK, then the vast majority of Japanese shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car. I don't know where you're from, but in the UK, when you see someone crossing, you stop your car. No buts, whether it's a crossing with no traffic lights or whether the pedestrian lights are green. I've never had a problem in USA either. Maybe it's the fear of being sued, but cars keep their distance too. Until the mindset of Japanese drivers, pedestrians and cyclists change, they can put themselves in the same category as the Chinese. I'll never understand why they have pedestrian crossings here without lights. Cars don't stop. I've lost count the number of times cars have tried not to let me cross, despite the pedestrian lights being green and the fact that I've already stepped onto the road.

Ironically, I think bus drivers here are the most careful. Maybe in this case the bus driver really didn't see the kid until it was too late, but in my experiences, the drivers can damn well see me. There are times when I wish I had a brick handy. Scum maybe a harsh word to call these drivers but if they have little respect for other people's safety, then that's what they are.

And it doesn't help that the police are lazy and incompetent.

About time someone posted something worth reading. I'm so sick and tired of apologists in this forum always blaming the victims in accidents/murders etc. Well said, Pukey2

-11 ( +2 / -12 )

Its easy to say what you would do or wouldn't when you are not in the situation. So until you have taken a life don't talk about how you would react or what you would do, because you don't know.

I pray for the family of the girl. I am sure that the driver will get some kind of justice but whatever that is is not for me to decide.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@timeonMAY. 07, 2012 - 11:11PM JST

The Japanese news have been updated: the little girl was skating downhill and she slammed into the back side of the bus, subsequently being caught under the rear wheel. I can't really see how one can blame the driver here, it's almost impossible to prevent something like this.

Thank You for this important post. Well, finally we know all the details and judging from what happened there is no way the driver of this bus could have prevented this awful tragedy. Obviously without his valuable piece of info, we were basing our responses merely on what we were provided at first in this article. Now we know the whole story at last.

That said. I'm sorry for the driver in this case who will have to live with this for the rest of his life..and of course I'm sorry for the parents of this little girl. The loss of a child in such a horrible way must be excruciating. I can't even imagine.

RIP little girl

-7 ( +2 / -8 )

The HighWay code states that you must give way to someone once they have set foot onto a crossing so it is the law.

But in the UK, it also adds rules for pedestrians (1-35): 19 - Zebra crossings. Give traffic plenty of time to see you and to stop before you start to cross. Vehicles will need more time when the road is slippery. Wait until traffic has stopped from both directions or the road is clear before crossing. Remember that traffic does not have to stop until someone has moved onto the crossing. Keep looking both ways, and listening, in case a driver or rider has not seen you and attempts to overtake a vehicle that has stopped.

This is a much more realistic view of road safety.

So there is an onus on the pedestrian to make sure it is safe to cross. Common sense tells you that both reaction distance and actual stopping distance are not zero, and to dash suddenly into the road and expect a large vehicle to stop instantly is ridiculous, even if they are crawling along at 5~10 km/ hr.

Expecting an 8-year old child in Japan to have that is probably too much, but in the UK the code is taught to all children before that age.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The Japanese news have been updated: the little girl was skating downhill and she slammed into the back side of the bus, subsequently being caught under the rear wheel. I can't really see how one can blame the driver here, it's almost impossible to prevent something like this

Wow; thanks for the addition, Timeon. If this is the case, I, like Franchesca, must stand corrected, and most of my vitriol for the driver of this bus will have to be retracted. The initial story had him "running her over" while making a left turn, which implies that he didn't stop quickly enough when driving the bus over the crosswalk.

Now I don't even think he, as an individual, should have been arrested. Perhaps the bus company should have been using vehicles that can't catch human bodies under them, or there could be some other kind of safety precautions built into the vehicle that would prevent a recurrence of this kind of incident.

I apologize to Mr. Ozawa. Not to other drivers who have killed and injured people due to negligence, and not to automobile culture in general, but to him specifically. His "didn't notice the girl" seems to be a perfectly understandable statement. I hope things don't go too harshly for him.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The death of the little girl is a tragedy. Because the bus is a lot bigger than the child the bus driver is going to shoulder the blame. However, from my years of driving in Japan I've noticed that the majority of pedestrians do not practice safety when crossing streets. Likewise, drivers also seem to forget what they were taught about safe driving practices after completing a very lengthy and expensive process to obtain a driver's license.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Rest in Peace to the little angel.

I guess it is fair to say that bus drivers in general are the most hated people in Japan these days- after TEPCO staff that is. Not saying it is right to hate on them all though, but that is the feeling in this joint now. Think I saw a mob carrying pitchforks chasing some tourist coaches down the highway earlier...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Before we make any comments - Has anyone seen what this road looks like ? Where this road is at ? If the bus driver drove over the pedestrian crossing it's not his fault if the kid hit the side of the bus and rolled under the bus.

I've seen alot of bus drivers who are most careful and observant.

One possibility we haven't considered was the 8 year old child skating to fast and forgot to brake and time ?

Did the bus pass the 8 year old and fell under the side of the bus ?

We may never know the true answers to these questions.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As the details come in, this just sounds like a terrible accident. All kids do careless things and unfortunately sometimes pay the ultimate price. I'm assuredly not looking for a place to cast the blame, but I'd be curious to hear from some of the teachers that post here. How often, in school, do young children receive guidance regarding the dangers of being near the street? Is this left completely up to the parents? I know both my elementary school children have received cautionary instructions at least three times this school year. With or without that, I still grill my kids at EVERY corner about waiting for the light and looking both ways. We can only hope that the more they hear it, the more it might sink in.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

OMGhontini, to quote Cat Stevens, where do the children play? Blaming the parents is despicable in my book. Suggesting they put the child in harm's way for monetary gain comes from a different type of mind

@aqualung - I didnt say that (monetary gain) - you are mixing me up with someone else.

As for where they play - how about a park? How about anywhere BUT alongside a busy road? Sorry but I stand by what I said - most parents of 8 year olds that I know would not allow them to ride a skateboard alongside a road like that.

Now the story has been updated its pretty clear that there was nothing the driver could have done. I feel really sorry for him. A similar thing happened to a friend of mine, where a kid on a bike came down a hill without brakes and crashed into his stationary car. The police arrested him, and it was only the kids parents admitting full fault and apologising to him that got him off. The police were still insisting he "take at least some responsibility" when the parents turned up at the police station. He wasnt even moving at the time - sitting at a red light, and the kids bike had no brakes!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@NYC Samurai - once a year. The police come into the schools and give a safety talk. I dont know if it is every school though. Policies like this seem a bit hit and miss.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@OMG I'd like to think it gets through to some children. Especially having it delivered by an authority figure. As I mentioned in my post, I think kids will be kids, unfortunately to their demise sometimes. As a parent, I constantly exude these warnings to my kids knowing full well that eventually, fate will take its course. Such a shame for the family and the driver who has to endure this unwarranted scrutiny as well.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is the parents who should be arrested. They are the negligent and irresponsible ones letting their kid cross roads on a skateboard. The risk is obvious.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"It is the parents who should be arrested."

While I agree that parents should take more responsibility for how their children conduct themselves in public, I think having one's 8-year-old daughter die under the wheels of a bus is punishment enough. Arresting her parents would be cruel and serve little purpose but to make ourselves feel better about this tragedy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

LFRAgain, punishing the parents may teach other parents to be more responsible. Many kids are allowed to run loose on and near the road. Because the drivers are always considered the guilty party, parents don't take enough responsibility. I'll bet the girl's parents blame the driver for the accident and not themselves.

Buses crawl along the roads in Tokyo. I don't think city buses are capable of going fast.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I am so glad the details have come out. The article says the bus struck the girl. Seems it was the opposite. The reporters do this each and every time and semantically lead us right over a cliff. Let this be a lesson.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Traveller, stay away from that LFRAgain guy...LOL He'll be obsessed with you and start replying you with long ass bullshit posts all over the forum. Trust me, you don't want that kind of NetStalker on your back ;-)

Some people seem to have a problem when proved "wrong" about something... YOU jumped to conclusions, YOU immediately blamed the bus-driver and even when the story was updated and proved that in NO WAY could the driver be blamed, you STILL think only YOU are right and BTW, the language you use could certainly do with some "cleaning up"...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'm so sorry to rain on your parade... Just imagine! I chose rthat pseudonym on purpose... You may in fact be very surprised if you knew... Imagine whatever you like but male or female, I have NEVER seen someone with so much time on their hands to write absolute drivel... I hope I never "bump into you"- literally - on the road... Watch where you're walking and/or driving, I despise the "always right" morons and may just run into you "accidently-on-purpose"...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How did the driver get charged with negligence? In a big bus, it would be hard to hear a kid hit the back of the bus.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

According to police, the girl was skateboarding behind the bus and ran into it when it stopped at a pedestrian crossing at around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Poor girl and awful accident but it doesn't seem completely to be the driver's fault. Police seem to arrest first then determine fault or not. The articles says she was "behind the bus." The bus stopped at the crossing... it doesn't say the bus hit the girl at the crossing. The girl then ran into the bus when it stopped.

It was just an unfortunate accident.

Moderator: The story has been updated.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I just can't resist interrupting my lunch (you conviently cut my appetite anyway...)

No, I am only blaming those - including YOU - who put all the fault on the bus driver... The only "difference" being, the others mostly say it only ONCE, but you keep harping on it, on and on and on again...

You've been here for "over a decade"? Congratulations! How does "45 years" hit you ? If you ever find yourself behind my car (might be safer - unless I have to hit the brakes for a pedestrian - as I often have to) you'll see that I've been a member of JAF for the last 40 years. So nice to "meet" someone who knows so much more about Japan then I do!

As for "American English" (even in British English, the word "Engliish" needs a capital letter), being half Danish (hence the "Viking") and half French, you won't find me speaking any kind of American English...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For the pedestrian, pedestrian crossings provide a false sense of security in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So the driver stopped at the crossing and the girl to skated into the back of him, so it would appear she was skating on the road and was wrong or what ever. With that process in mind then wouldn't it be fair to say to the "Driver Lynching Party" that the girl got what she deserved and the driver should be given compensation for the trauma the little girl has put him and his family through? I personally don't subscribe to that thinking but some of you surly do if logic prevails.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

OMGhontini-my apologies, I was referring to traveller's comment that you agreed with, although all evidence has been removed by the jt-police.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OMGhontoniMAY. 08, 2012 - 07:43AM JST

Now the story has been updated its pretty clear that there was nothing the driver could have done. I feel really sorry for him. A similar thing happened to a friend of mine, where a kid on a bike came down a hill without brakes and crashed into his stationary car. The police arrested him, and it was only the kids parents admitting full fault and apologising to him that got him off. The police were still insisting he "take at least some responsibility" when the parents turned up at the police station. He wasnt even moving at the time - sitting at a red light, and the kids bike had no brakes!

Same here dear. The story was horribly INCOMPLETE and it made it sound like the driver indeed ran over the little girl, which is why I retracted my initial assumption and made the corrections as needed. This is a Forum nonetheless and posting something based on an incomplete article may not always agree with everyone else's point of view. That said, it doesn't change the fact that traffic laws in Japan are a shameful joke and many drivers do not respect them, same with many pedestrians, still, the truth of the matter is, as ThonTaddeo and Pukey2 stated, I have never heard of a pedestrian killing a driver, its always the opposite. If you drive a machine that can potentially kill human beings, at least pay attention to the road at all times and forget everything else. Again, driving is not a right but a privilege. It's your own responsibility to drive with extreme caution. I have met people that have lost children/family members in car accidents and trust me, you don't wanna be in their shoes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is probably no way the driver ever seen the small girl behind the bus (due to blind spots) and didn't realize that she ran into the bus (if no passengers in the back of the bus knew the driver in the front of the bus wouldn't know). There is really nothing the bus driver, who was following the rules of the road, could have done. If anything the girl's parents should be charged with neglect for allowing their child to skateboard in the street. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the young girl and may she rest in peace.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Aqualung - no worries :) !

@Francesca - agreed, and easy to jump to conclusions with incomplete info.

@NYC - I agree. As a parent all you can do is just keep drumming it into your children to be careful. I tell them to just assume everyone else is an idiot! So expect not to be seen, expect someone to drive off the road to where they are standing by the crossing, expect everyone to plough through a crossing without waiting, etc etc. Even with the best will in the world though, you get a bunch of overexcited kids together, even with an adult, and it only takes one seconds distraction for disaster to happen. Its scary.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have to admit this updated story really makes me feel angry for the driver though - it sounds like she was skateboarding on the ROAD??!! She hit the back of the bus and went under. How could he even have noticed that, never mind done anything to prevent it? I hope this arrest for negligent driving is just a formality while they investigate, and that he will be released. Although it sounds like his career is already over, poor guy. Assuming he would even want to get behind a wheel again after such a trauma.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Huge respect as a pedestrian/cyclist/motorist/passenger for the professionalism and manners of Japan's public bus drivers, true gentlemen of the road, and the most considerate drivers I've encountered in my travels.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Sensenot, go to Hachioji see what the Nishi Tokyo bus drivers are like and it will OPEN YOUR EYES! I saw a very, very mean bus driver there in Hachioji actually SPEED UP to scare a little old lady to JUMP OUT OF THE WAY and he blew his horn over and over at a little old lady near JR Hachioji station, so if you think Japanese bus drivers are so polite, keep on dreaming!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japantoday, thank you for updating the story and clarifying the situation. It seems the girl was at fault. If wonder is she was holding the bus to get a tow.

If a wheeled vehicle goes into the back of another, that vehicle is supposed to be in the wrong. Is a skateboard legally a vehicle? Probably not.

When following another vehicle, you should always allow a safe distance for braking, but skateboards don't have brakes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LFRAgain, punishing the parents may teach other parents to be more responsible.

Oh hell no! Punish the guilty with a fitting punishment period. Japan has enough of this "make an example" of people garbage already. Just ask yourself how much you would like to be made an example of, and receive more punishment than you were due for the sake of creating a warning for others. Or to receive punishment where none is to be expected.

There is plenty of warning in the fact that someone's daughter is dead. If that does serve as a wake up call to parents, then I don't think there is much you can do anyway, short of a public beating.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think the bus driver is being unjustly blamed. The news above reads that she was skateboarding behind the bus. Now tell me who is to be blamed, the driver or the parents ?

"According to police, the girl was skateboarding behind the bus and ran into it when it stopped at a pedestrian crossing at around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

According to police, the girl was skateboarding behind the bus and ran into it when it stopped at a pedestrian crossing at around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. She was dragged beneath the bus and suffered severe head injuries.

Only in this backward country would a bus driver be charged with a crime for this. How exactly was he supposed to know a girl on a skateboard had hit him and was under the bus? Do buses have cameras on full time so they can see behind and under them in case of this? No well how would he know then. Ah Japanese law what a joke, only here can a completely innocent driver be charged for someone elses stupidity

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Come on people read it carefully!!!

According to police, the girl was skateboarding behind the bus and ran into it when it stopped at a pedestrian crossing at around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday

The little girl was BEHIND the bus!! She ran into the back of the bus! This happened when the bus driver stopped at the cross walk...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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