crime

9-year-old boy run over, killed in Kanagawa

37 Comments

Police said Monday that an elementary school boy died after being run over by a car in Ayase, Kanagawa prefecture.

According to police, Yukiya Yoshida, 9, was crossing an intersection in a residential area at around 4:30 p.m. Sunday when he was hit by a car. The boy was taken to hospital where he died a short time later, TBS reported.

The driver of the car, who has been named as 35-year-old postal worker Masato Ono, was arrested for involuntary manslaughter with a vehicle. During questioning, Ono was quoted by police as saying, "I thought I heard a sound and when I stopped to look, I saw a boy lying there."

Police say they are currently investigating the cause of the accident.

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37 Comments
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I hate driving in Japan, especially in my neighborhood. For me its not kids but old people. For some reason, they always want to ride their bikes or walk in the middle of the street, or try to cross where there is no crosswalk. There were times when I had to brake hard and come to a screeching halt (literally) to avoiding hitting them. If I did hit them, even though all rational arguments would dictate that the pedestrian is wrong for being out in the middle of the road when they shouldn't me, I know that the law will find me responsible for for injury or death.

There is a simple solution. Slow down. What's the hurry anyway? You'll be 'the old people' soon enough.

I won't lose sleep over my being voted down, but what's your solution? Keep trudging along at your set speed on yesterday's roads filled with yesterday's people surely won't solve anything.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Balefire said- " I don't know how many kids have been killed by bicyclists, but in 2011, according to this, six pedestrians and one other cyclist were killed by bicyclists: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/02/04/reference/cyclists-who-flout-law-face-charges/#.UW5BDrVkPMU

Obviously less than those killed by cars, but significant nonetheless."

Out of a total of 4,863 traffic fatalities in Japan in 2011(within 24 hours of incident), 1,714 were pedestrians and 658 were people on bicycles.

http://cyclekyoto.blogspot.jp/2012/05/traffic-fatalities-japan-2011-bicycle.html

http://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/kotu/roadplan/2rin_jiko.htm

So, in, one year, 2011 -

6 pedestrians were killed by cyclists 1 cyclist killed by cyclist

1,708 pedestrians killed by motorists. 657 cyclists killed by motorists 2,498 motorists killed by motorists

0 motorists killed by pedestrians 0 motorists killed by cyclists

Tell me again about people on bikes being a menace.

The numbers dont lie but car owners dont seem to get it. Motorist myopia.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When I was a child of 5 or so, I smashed into the fender or door of a car as I darted across the street. Lucky for me(and the driver as well), I bounced off the car. Also, the driver was a nurse, and a foot-patrolman witnessed the incident. The nurse drove me to the hospital, held by the patrolman, and only with a bruised leg. Common sense prevailed back then, no one was charged with a crime, and I lived and learned to be careful and look both ways.

I'm very sorry for this boy, his parent(s), and the driver. Parents, teach your children well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese law might put the fault on the driver most of the time, but the "Law of Gross Tonnage" will ALWAYS make the pedestrian the true loser. Vehicle's can't stop on a dime, and swerving INTO traffic isn't much of a better option. Walkers, bikers, etc... they may have the right of way, but that is very little comfort if they exercise it to the point of recklessness and get hit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@owenfinn I quite agree with much of what you say about the danger of cars compared to that of bicycles. Nevertheless, older folks who have recently taken to riding bicycles, and do so inexpertly, do represent a menace both to themselves and to motorists who may have to resort to extreme measures to avoid them. If it were only a case of slowing down, that would be fine. It's often a case of having to swerve or brake suddenly because of the sudden appearance of the bike without the rider having looked for--or even considered, in some cases--the possible presence of a car in the road. And I didn't say "in the lane", which is fine with me...I said "in the middle of the road", and that's just what I meant.

I don't know how many kids have been killed by bicyclists, but in 2011, according to this, six pedestrians and one other cyclist were killed by bicyclists: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/02/04/reference/cyclists-who-flout-law-face-charges/#.UW5BDrVkPMU

Obviously less than those killed by cars, but significant nonetheless.

This is a little older, but also contains some points of interest: http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/irtadpublic/pdf/seoul/P08_Yoshida.pdf

1 ( +1 / -0 )

JeffLee: Why do Japanese news articles rarely mention if the light was red or green?

ambrosia: Because they're too busy focusing on whether or not the drivers are employed, unemployed, Japanese or non-Japanese.

Or, because the driver will be found guilty either way, as described in the other comments.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I dont know the details here but the drivers comments do take me back to when I "hit" a child - or rather he hit me. My car wasnt even moving. I was waiting to pull out. It was a wet day. The kid came shooting along the pavement and the brakes on his bike didnt work. He slammed into the side of my car but I was looking the other way at oncoming traffic waiting for a chance to pull out so all I heard was a bang. I looked around and saw nothing. My passenger said "its not your fault!" - I sat up a bit and saw the kid lying on the ground by the passenger side of the car with his bike all mangled. My heart stopped. I leapt out of the car and a woman came storming up to me and started yelling and screaming at ME! I didnt hit him. I hadnt even been moving! But people - even witnesses - just automaticaly started blaming me. Halfway through all this the kid jumped up and cycles off leving me with a badly damaged car and no recourse through insurance. So I am just saying - may be the drivers fault. But equally there may not have been anything he could have done.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Got a glimpse on the TV last night and was under the impression the boy came out of a blind alley (street)?

I don't know the facts but kids do some stupid things on bikes. Including me when I was a kid. I was with my brother back home when some kids crossed the road in front of us. All but one. I think he made it but he was lucky to be carried off in an ambulance instead of a hearse.

Straight wide road. Neither of us saw him until he bounce off the bonnet. Lucky he was not run over.

Adults are not much better. I hit an old lady who thought that bicycles have the right of way meant she neither had to look or stop as she darted out in front of me. Thankfully she was just a little sore and much wiser. Cars can't stop on a dime.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hate driving in Japan, especially in my neighborhood. For me its not kids but old people. For some reason, they always want to ride their bikes or walk in the middle of the street, or try to cross where there is no crosswalk. There were times when I had to brake hard and come to a screeching halt (literally) to avoiding hitting them. If I did hit them, even though all rational arguments would dictate that the pedestrian is wrong for being out in the middle of the road when they shouldn't me, I know that the law will find me responsible for for injury or death.

There is a simple solution. Slow down. What's the hurry anyway? You'll be 'the old people' soon enough.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is a sad story today. 9 years old an hit/killed by a car. So sad and he just started the new school year (presumably Grade 4). I feel for the driver but only if it was an honest accident with no stupidity involved such as phoning or texting, consuming of alcohol. No one wins that day. Sad. My condolences go out to all involved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whenever I drive around here in Yokohama on the narrow blind spot hilly roads, I tend to do so at a snail's pace because I've come close to smashing a kid twice in 3 years... in one case the junior high school aged girl was texting while biking and came off the sidewalk into the road without a hint of a glance. But if I had actually hit her, it's my fault according to the law.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

9 years old is way too young to die. It's sad, I feel sorry for the family and friends if this child. The driver will probably loose their job and friends, and maybe even have to do time. I hope that this is resolved properly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased. What a terrible story. RIP little kid. So sad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Balefire at 3:16 said"As the average age goes up and more and more people are becoming too old too drive, they have been switching to bicycles in rural and semi-rural areas. They represent a new menace with shaky balance, slow reaction time, failure to check before zipping out into intersections, riding in the middle of the road, sudden turns across the street between intersections, etc"

A new menace - really?!? Old people on bicycles - you can`t be serious

How many kids have been run over and killed by old people riding bikes? How many kids have been run over and killed by anyone on a bicycle? Now - how many kids have been run over and killed by cars?

Of course, we never want to think "its my fault" and in many cases, Id have to say it truly is an honest mistake. However, it is always the cyclists or pedestrians who pay with their lives. If you are driving you need to realize that when a mistake occurs, regardless of who is at fault, it is the 2 tons of moving steel that is directly causing the death. No one is at fault perhaps but still your car was what killed that person.

If seniors or anyone is riding a bike instead of a car, well my hats off to them - and if they are using the road instead of the sidewalk, more power to em. Cyclists have every right to ride in the road and to take the lane when no adequate cycling infrastructure exists, and if they are riding a bike instead of a car we should be thankful. If it inconveniences drivers and forces them to slow down than thats a good thing right? If it inconveniences drivers often enough and gets more of them to give up driving altogether, well then that`s fantastic for everyone. It will save lives.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Scant details lead to jumped-to conclusions. Sure, there are lots of bad drivers, but the other day I saw a kid on a bike try to zip across the street well after the ped light had turned red and the car light had turned green. The kid(8~10) nearly got creamed by a truck that had to brake hard and swerve to avoid boy-blunder. What's more is that after the truck went on, the boy zipped across and nearly got hit by a different car coming the other way. Lots of dumb kids, too.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The other day I was riding my bike and some construction workers looked at me funny and threw down their tools down making a loud noise, another vehicle was approaching at that time from another direction and was looking for the cause of the loud noise, and almost hit a parked vehicle. Therefore at such times distractions can cause problems needless to say.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The stop signs in Japan are so high off the viewing field that they are easy to miss.

The stop signs are a joke in Japan. I have VERY rarely seen any motorist come to a complete stop in front of one. As a matter of fact, I got honked at from a motorist behind me when I did stop at a stop sign, as if I were doing something wrong.

ridiculous!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

boy on skateboard, suddenly appeared in front of a moving truck, the driver maybe looked right and left then boom out of nowhere he hit a boy that jumped out of the corner. My scenario. Can't avoid it. RIP. nobody's fault. its an accident.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JeffLee: Why do Japanese news articles rarely mention if the light was red or green?

Because they're too busy focusing on whether or not the drivers are employed, unemployed, Japanese or non-Japanese.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Mirai Hayashi You're quite right about who is likely to be held responsible in most accidents involving pedestrians and cars. The basic approach has been for many years--decades that I'm personally aware of--that regardless of whether the pedestrian is crossing against a red light, runs out from between parked cars into the street, dashes from a building exit directly into the (no sidewalk) road, or whatever, it is the motorist's responsibility to be driving in such a way and at such a speed as to be able to avoid hitting them. In many cases with narrow roads, poor visibility corners, etc., this is highly impractical, but that's what you have to be prepared for if you want to drive in Japan.

There was a case a few years back in which a kid ran out between parked cars and went under the back wheels of a vehicle (a truck, if memory serves) after the front of the vehicle had passed...the driver got blamed for that one, even though he could hardly have avoided it. We don't know, but maybe this "I heard a thump..." case happened like that.

It may be changing a bit with the increased attention to scofflaw cyclists, but traditionally bicycle riders are essentially supposed to follow the traffic laws applicable to vehicle operators, but have been regarded as pedestrians when involved with accidents with motor vehicles. As the average age goes up and more and more people are becoming too old too drive, they have been switching to bicycles in rural and semi-rural areas. They represent a new menace with shaky balance, slow reaction time, failure to check before zipping out into intersections, riding in the middle of the road, sudden turns across the street between intersections, etc., and much of this applies to elderly pedestrians as well, but at least they usually can't move as fast on foot as they do on a bicycle.

With the distances involved for shopping, visiting clinics, or whatever, especially in the country, if you can't drive a car then a bicycle is pretty much necessary: there tends not to be a lot within walking distance, and public transportation is largely inadequate/impractical. That's particularly true for old folks, but also often for kids in many places these days.

Certainly in crowded cities, but also in the country, the risk of hitting pedestrians or cyclists has been steadily increasing, and regardless of extenuating circumstances, if you're a motorist, you are almost certainly going to be held responsible. There's a reason that even private vehicle drivers get hit with "professional negligence" charges in accidents: having that license makes you a "professional", even if you're not a commercial driver.

None of this, of course, excuses inattention, speeding, texting, reading, applying makeup, etc., while driving. If you're a driver, be aware of the risk or don't drive. If you're a pedestrian or a cyclist, be careful out there.

And RIP, young boy, regardless of who was at fault in this case.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I could be mistaken but I think I saw this on the news yesterday. The boy was apparently on his skateboard when the accident happened. So they were saying they didn't know if the boy was in the driver's view or not so will be doing a thorough investigation.

Regardless, it's a tragic loss and a terrible ordeal for the family and the driver to go through.

4 ( +3 / -0 )

I must say that I agree with crazed. The facts in the article are nonexistent. Everyone keeps talking about a traffic light but no light was mentioned, it was in a residential area and most residential areas only have a stop sign not stop light. The stop signs in Japan are so high off the viewing field that they are easy to miss. Most countries put the stop sign on a post at the corner in the line of view. There is not enough information to draw any conclusions except that a young boy was killed and a family is suffering as well as the man who hit the boy. I feel sorry for all of them.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A lot of people making assumptions on here. It's not always the drivers fault. I

Yes and no. Technically, if the driver hits a pedestrian, 99.8% of the time, the driver will be at fault. Basic traffic law states that a pedestrian will almost always if not always have the right of way. Even if the kid ran out into the intersection on a red a red light, its almost always likely that the driver will be found at fault but will get a reduced penalty.

This is why I hate driving in Japan, especially in my neighborhood. For me its not kids but old people. For some reason, they always want to ride their bikes or walk in the middle of the street, or try to cross where there is no crosswalk. There were times when I had to brake hard and come to a screeching halt (literally) to avoiding hitting them. If I did hit them, even though all rational arguments would dictate that the pedestrian is wrong for being out in the middle of the road when they shouldn't me, I know that the law will find me responsible for for injury or death.

For the incident in this article, there is no way of telling who is responsible unless there is a third party witness. But as I mentioned, even if the light was red for the boy, chances are that the driver will still be found guilty or at least responsible for death but given a very reduced or suspended sentence, or a fine.

5 ( +5 / -1 )

@Dis. You said it ...the driver didn't see the child that could mean that the child ran smack into the left front fender or even the side of the car/van/truck ?? Not enough facts stated to know absolutes

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I agree with crazedinjapan. There are no facts and people start to assume. I've almost gotten hit on my bike many times and its because there are so many blind spots here that its hard to blame the drivers. Sure, I was pissed but I now not to go that way and to be more visible. I've gotten lucky plenty of times. Unfortunately, this boy wasn't.

My heart goes out to him and his family. As well as the to the driver. I'm sure he didn't wake up thinking he was going to kill a small child with his car. As stupid as his statement was, it sounded like very honest response of what happened.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Crazedinjapan - The driver states he didn't see the kid. He only heard a noise. Obviously, he was not paying attention. That is not speculation.

-7 ( +3 / -11 )

A lot of people making assumptions on here. It's not always the drivers fault. I myself managed to get hit by a car when I was a kid and it was 100% my fault. Some of these crossings are not very well laid out here. Poll on a corner can easily hide a small child from view. Some of these crossings are total blind spots. Even if you did 30km/h and a kid didn't heed traffic and ran into your car as you were just going by is enough of a smack to kill you. It doesn't say in the story above who was at fault . The man was a postal worker and he could be very street savy well knowing the dangers of pedestrians. It would be nice to see a more complete article being posted so people don't automatically jump to a conclusion based on "hypothetical scenarios"

Hopefully the man wasn't on the phone, it didn't say he was speeding, didn't say he failed to yield ...doesn't say much except the poor kid passed away...that driver had to live with this whether its his fault or not ...he can't go back and change what happened.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Why do Japanese news articles rarely mention if the light was red or green?

2 ( +3 / -2 )

Unless the kid suddenly bolted across the street on a red light, this is 100% the driver's fault. Probably running a red and/or emailing on his cell phone at the same time and couldn't be bothered to stop the car.

0 ( +4 / -5 )

Man...I really hope the driver wasn't texting or talking on his mobile. He needs to be crucified if he was.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yeah, it's pretty sad. Time and time again I see drivers 'multi-tasking' instead of concentrating on the road. Everything from texting to having a newspaper spread across the steering wheel, but my personal favorite has to be, girls applying make up.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Rest in Peace, may your next life be more joyous.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Rest in peace to the poor boy. They have these white stripes painted on the road here in places - but cars rarely ever stop for people at them.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Police say they are currently investigating the cause of the accident.

The CAUSE of the accident?! The cause of the accident is that the driver, for whatever reason, was not looking at the road!! Or at least, not paying attention to the road in a manner which would have allowed him to see a pedestrian crossing in front of him.

As disillusioned said, texting perhaps? I saw on my way taking kiddy to kindy this morning, a guy driving a car while reading a manga comic at the wheel. Nothing surprises me anymore.

RIP little guy.. and my deepest condolences to your parents.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

“I thought I heard a sound and when I stopped to look, I saw a boy lying there.”

He heard a sound? Why didn't he see the kid? Was he busy texting?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Poor kid, 9 years old! Something that we can never get over is when kids get hurt or killed. So sad! Not all accidents result from the drivers fault. He must be going through hell now. So is the family of the boy and not knowing how or why it happened probably is not an issue now but it will be. Really sad! RIP little boy!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

RIP little one. Sympathies to the family and driver. I am always nervous when I see kids walking after school, spontaneous movements with them. Unfortunately there aren't enough facts released on here to base any kind of conclusion as to why this happened.

10 ( +11 / -2 )

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