crime

Car hits group of preschoolers in Shiga Pref; 2 dead

74 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

74 Comments
Login to comment

I hope all the victims here recover. Seems to me like a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Weird. The Google Street View pic of that intersection captured a group of kindergarten kids with their teachers. I wonder if they are the same ones. Poor kids.

https://www.google.co.jp/maps/@34.9938718,135.9098529,3a,75y,143.84h,86.46t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sqE5FaUCvnxnMgl85LhftTg!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo1.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DqE5FaUCvnxnMgl85LhftTg%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D76.73693%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

1 ( +7 / -6 )

This is terrible. Sad news. I hope the kids recovers soon.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Speeding for a blue light from one of the car ?

I doubt there were no witness so zgain why is lack of i fo a out how cars crashed ? (Same direction or not)

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Ugh, again? Without any info one can only speculate, all I hope is that everyone survives.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If the drivers are 52 and 62 we can’t use the age card on this one. That is terrible!

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Cameron, offcourse we can if the 62 was driving

-33 ( +5 / -38 )

Alex Einz - Cameron, offcourse we can if the 62 was driving

Oh, is that right? So, you’ll be handing in your license at 60 then, right?

21 ( +26 / -5 )

Wifey says it's on TV now and there have been at least two fatalities - a boy and a girl.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Horrible for the parents. My worst nightmare.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Check the cell phone records to find out if the driver was fiddling with an i-phone at the time. I see people swerving around on the road quite often like drunk drivers now and I check them out when I have the chance to pull up to them, they're usually doing something on their i-phones. Yes, I live in Japan.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

This is becoming a weekly occurrence now, if not daily in some cases. Seriously have no idea what the hell is happening with the drivers here, but I hope the two little ones didn't suffer too much and hope those who survived make full recoveries. Terrible, terrible news.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@Joeintokyo That google street view link you posted is so telling! They are just sitting ducks on that exposed corner. No place for them to hide behind safely while waiting to cross, if that is what they were doing. So sad.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I too checked Street View and seeing those kids waiting on the corner there with their handlers made for an unconformable sight, even though the footage is old.

There's a kindergarten nearby, and the kids gather on that corner before crossing the street. They were kept well away from the edge of the road, too.

So sad.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

A tragedy I wish upon no one.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

This is so sad RIP little ones..

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I suppose it is unavoidable that the kids have to cross such a busy road, but as some others said, that does look like a dangerous spot to do it. At two years old they are no longer in the baby carts - it would be up to the teachers to make sure that none of them would run out on the road unexpectedly.

It does sound like one of the drivers was rushing through the mostly orange light while the other assumed it was ok to turn since the lights were about to change. I wonder how they will proportion the blame here. RIP to the little ones.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Either driver could have been at fault depending on lights but the children weren’t even on the crossing but on the sidewalk waiting for the lights to change. They and their teachers are the innocent victims. Lost of such young life is very sad for their families.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Cameron, offcourse we can if the 62 was driving

Cool, so your parents stopped driving in their 50s?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Sounds like negligent driving, rather than an age thing (though that's only getting worse as the population in Japan shrinks). I'm confused why the passenger was also arrested. We're they doing drugs in the car?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Ah, excuse me. Two cars...

I guess they were unable to determine who caused the accident.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan rules on highway driver should change !! There is too much case for eldery driver accidents .

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Mandatory yearly driver's tests starting at age 60!

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

Japan rules on highway driver should change !! There is too much case for eldery driver accidents .

Eh yes and no! Yes there have been some incidents in the news recently, but not only elderly drivers are to blame. I invite you to check out traffic in Osaka some day. Nothing but non-seatbelt wearing, redlight running, zebrazone rushing, iphone using douchebags.

This is not a handful of people, this is ingrained in society. The police should get out of their koban's BESIDE during national holidays and give them massive fines. Let's see who will continue running red lights.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What a heart wrenching accident.

Unfortunaltey when some preschools go out for their morning the only roads they can take are heavily trafficked ones. Very dangerous routes, and yet the people who have the say in these things don't say anything. Now two poor kids are dead and their families lives have changed forever. Not to mention the drivers who must come to terms with what they've done

5 ( +5 / -0 )

there is a turn right arrow and I would guess the driver going straight through sped up to beat the red light and hit the car turning with the light, both drivers at fault. You see it all the time. The turning car would have been spun into the poor teachers and kids out for an enjoyable walk. RIP and no matter how vigilant the teachers were their was nothing they could have done. Bad driving with deadly consequences.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

When I'm at these type of intersections and there is room I stand back from the road, just in case this type of accident happens. A friends adult daughter was killed in the same way. There needs to be some concrete pillars to stop the cars from mounting the sidewalk but probably won't be much use if it was a heavy truck.

The 62 year old driver was making the right turn and the 52 years old driver was coming straight ahead and hit the car turning right which then spun and hit the children but we won't know which driver was at fault until the police say so.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

We do not know what happened. Both lights may have been green and the right-turning driver simply went for a non-existent gap. However, with dash cams so cheap now, police should start fitting them to traffic lights, firstly for evidence and more importantly to start fining anyone going through a red. It is customary for this to happen several seconds after the lights change. I see it every day.

Whatever caused the accident, you cannot blame the hoikuen for having children standing on the pavement. RIP to them, and fingers crossed for a full recovery by the others.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Shiga drivers are very polite and rule abiding. This seems out of place.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

I lived in many countries, but I must say Japanese are terrible drivers.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

RIP

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Terrible tragedy, but my question why were both drivers arrested on the spot, but two weeks ago when the 87 year old crashed into many people killing two, mother and daughter, he was sent to the hospital and still hasn't been arrested?

Also, was just watching the press conference and the press were really hammering the principal of the kindergarten, accusing her and trying to pin some blame on her. What is up with that?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Aside from traffic violations, this aroused a problem of "kei."  When a heavy car and a light weight car collide, a light weight car "kei" is blown away and do not know where it goes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Next step at crosswalks is to place barricades in hopes of avoiding such an incidence from happening again.

I am sure those children will remember this incident forever, scared for life. Bummer .....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If Shimoyama's car was hit by the other car & then propelled into the children it seems odd that she would be arrested immediately rather than taken for questioning. There must be some other information which was not published?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Cameron, offcourse we can if the 62 was driving

Why do some people continually demonize over 40s?

Please explain this ageism for us older folks.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I hope the parents receive the love s d support they need in this painful period of mourning. There need to a a website where people can chip in and support victims and families through donations.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not aware if it is a factor here but Japan seems heavily populated by traffic lights. I note that though the law says you should slow down on amber (orange) most drivers speed up. Many still go through red. This should end.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

There is too much case for eldery driver accidents .

What does that have to do with this accident wherein the drivers were 52 and 62 years old?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Time for cameras at traffic lights that take a pic when cars run a red, and time for this to be a painful penalty, fine and points. Why police time is spent on ‘mouse traps’ for minor athletically minor infractions that will never cause death rather than tackling truly dangerous driving issues I don’t know...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Alex EinzToday  01:57 pm JST

Cameron, offcourse we can if the 62 was driving

Don't the young say funny things sometimes?

62 is not old enough to lead to age-impairment for everyday driving.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Terrible tragedy, but my question why were both drivers arrested on the spot, but two weeks ago when the 87 year old crashed into many people killing two, mother and daughter, he was sent to the hospital and still hasn't been arrested?

We already know the answer to that one.

Also, was just watching the press conference and the press were really hammering the principal of the kindergarten, accusing her and trying to pin some blame on her. What is up with that?

It's apart of Japanese culture where blame is shared amongst everybody, no matter how incidental the involvement. Being Japan, I'm sure blame will partially be assigned to Woden because the accident happened on a Wednesday.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Police is referring both drivers were inattentive. I sometime feel driving a car myself, limitations of attentiveness of human beings.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Time for cameras at traffic lights that take a pic when cars run a red, and time for this to be a painful penalty, fine and points. 

The costs of installing and operating cameras mounted at every single junction would be enormous. We don't even know which driver was at fault.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

After this terrible tragedy, the hoikuens nationally will have to implement new rules around where they can take infants for the daily outside walk. Nowhere near roads would be the safest solution. It's just not worth the risk, especially as Japan and its drivers become more elderly.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The costs of installing and operating cameras mounted at every single junction would be enormous. We don't even know which driver was at fault.

If you can buy a dash cam for 4,000 yen, the cost of having them at junctions would not be enormous. There is no reason to have them at "every single junction", just a few will do to get the enforcement ball rolling and get people thinking that if you run a red, its 50,000 yen and three points. Safety may not motivate people, but 50,000 yen will. The police could do this themselves without cameras, but they are far too busy in my town attending kids' sports days and graduation ceremonies.

I think it makes more sense than fitting bollards everywhere to protect people standing on the pavement.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Joe Blow - Mandatory yearly driver's tests starting at age 60!

They start at 70 and the tests are bi-annually.

This is a tragic accident, but let's not forget, it is an accident. The fingers of blame could be pointed in many directions. You could even go as far as to state it is the parents' fault for sending the kids to daycare. This is a just a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. There are reckless and careless drivers in every demographic of society.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

"According to local residents, preschoolers and their teachers were frequently seen taking a walk in the area. There is a lot of traffic on the road near the area, they said.". The question is why and for what kindergarden going somewhere if such a small kids on this busy road, besides so frequently???

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Really sad news. Feel so sorry for everyone involved.

Roads are dangerous and accidents do happen - 40% of all accidents occure at intersections -

This accident should (will most probably) lead to changes in kindergarten policy. 

Why were there only 3 teachers guiding so many little children on such a busy road? I have 2 children ( a hand for each child ) so I can't imagine how the teachers can comfortably care for 4-5 children when out walking.

Most Kindergartens have minibuses. If they had one, why wasn't it used ?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

'zero to five years old'? I take it that 'zero' = newborn up to less than a year old.

Anyway, this is such a terrible tragedy - for the children (living and dead) AND the nursery teachers AND the bystanders unlucky enough to witness this.

CameronToday 01:53 pm JSTIf the drivers are 52 and 62 we can’t use the age card on this one. That is terrible!

There are people in America of every age who can't drive safely and sanely. I have to deal with these clods every day on the highway and the city. Apparently it's the same in Japan and elsewhere. At certain ages there are tests for license renewal, usually it's for side vision and stuff.

Hopefully because they're so young the surviving kids may forget this in some way - but it may resurface in their minds later in life. The teachers are in for what us Americans call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I hope everyone recovers from this traumatic experience as well as the dead children's survivors.

RIP Gaku Ito and Yui Harada. Your lives never got started and now they never will : (

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Terrible tragedy. I can't even begin to understand the pain those involved must be feeling.

Sometimes accidents happen but it certainly appears someone made a very costly mistake.

There need to be some changes and some bows and sorries aren't going to fix this and there has been just too much in the last few weeks.

The police need to step up a lot!

Fine drivers for not stopping for red lights or stop signs or pedestrian crossings or children without restraints in cars or people on phones or just plainly driving poorly (failing to keep in lanes, no indications, too slow, too fast).

There are other issues which are more transport authority issues, intersections where people are trying to turn right against lines of traffic going straight forces people to move out into the intersection and often turn and drive off well after the lights are orange and often red, but as there are quite rarely turn arrows or turn lanes due to narrowness of many of the streets there is little choice but to adopt this approach, this is even more dangerous as you are often using personal judgment if the pedestrian crossing is clear (even if it has green light) to turn. The pedestrians should have their own phase, not mixed with cars. You should never be able to drive over a pedestrian crossing if anyone is on any part of it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Intersection car accidents have happened many times in the past. It seems most Japanese pedestrians think intersection place is safe even if there are no guardrails there. It is actually very unsafe place unless they watch cars coming going from all directions. Most pedestrians don't watch cars approaching but are thinking something else. This is the most dangerous action at intersection.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Terrible tragedy, but my question why were both drivers arrested on the spot, but two weeks ago when the 87 year old crashed into many people killing two, mother and daughter, he was sent to the hospital and still hasn't been arrested?

The 87 year old was a former official and therefore is further up in the hierarchy of Japanese society.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There were no guard rails.

In some countries, the process would cobtinue:

hire a lawyer

find out why there weren’t guardrails at this busy street corner but guardrails are l on other streets with 15 times less traffic using data researched by paralegals or interns working at law offices for $20 an hour

probe into city department and examine policy.

discover city actually budgeted cost for adding guardrails but guardrails did not get added.

Find our why this was so and discover negligence on behalf of incompetent city staff.

Show how speed of car at the time of collusion and impact was not great enough to overcome the guardrails.

Argue had city completed the installing of guardrails, lives would have been saved.

Find and support through data value of life and compensation awarded in previous court cases similar.

Sue for $20 million dollars and win.
0 ( +2 / -2 )

Out taking a walk on busy streets..... the odds, unfortunately, are that something like this may happen. A guard rail probably would have made the difference. Hopefully going forward, every intersection will be inspected for safety, especially if large groups of kids are frequenting them on walks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The costs of the roads falls to the city/town/village where they are located.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Heartbreaking report. Not the same, but I almost saw my kids killed at a T-junction near their Hoikuen (pre-school). We tried to train them to look both ways and walk, not run, at intersections, and to stop immediately if we shouted "STOP". They were waiting, holding hands with a friend, and when the lights changed they started to cross, running. I noticed that a taxi was jumping the lights and had turned after the lights had changed, and I yelled "STOP". They did, and I watched the taxi drive past just a few centimeters ahead of the three children.

Shinjuku-ku has recently re-modelled a number of road junctions in the area to prevent drivers taking them at speed, but not this one. I don't know if this is what happened in Otsu, but I do think that drivers in Japan seem to try to speed pass the traffic lights even after they have changed, rather than waiting in safety for the next cycle, and that drivers of taxis, foreign cars and those using their mobile phones are especially to blame. RIP those kids and let's hope Otsu does a lessons-learned study that is implemented nationwide.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Taxi drivers speed through red lights frequently. Some people consider that’s understandable because they are working and somehow exempt from the rules! Be very careful out there...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What kind of charge is that: "..... negligent driving resulting in injury...."?

This was negligent driving resulting in the death of two little ones and injury of many others.

I can't imagine what I would do if something like this happened to my little daughter.

For the ones injured I wish a fast and complete recovery. Get well soon!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

News this morning said they have drive recorder footage that shows Shintate-san (the driver of the car turning right) did so without checking correctly (i.e. the Kei car was already passing through the intersection); so the fault lays mostly with her. She was travelling at 50kmh at time of impact, the Kei car 60km/h. With 110km/h combined speed its no wonder the Kei car was sent shooting off like a pinball.

Not often that news gets to me like this but with a similar age daughter in daycare at the moment my eyes welled up when i saw the flowers and anpanman toys laid out for the two that died. So sad...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Both lights were green and the right turning car was at fault. It pushed the other car off course into the kids.

Looking at it now, any busy junction with a queue of right turning cars like this one should really have guard rails on that corner. The damage to the cars themselves does not look so great, and it is tragic that relatively minor contact between the vehicles has had such big consequences. Tragic in terms of timing and tragic in that the pedestrians there were so exposed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's surprising there aren't more accidents actually. Just stand at ANY traffic lights and counts the cars passing the yellow and red lights. It's beyond believable. The country needs money ? Just put those useless policemen (that sit in their koban all day) at those crossings and fines will be piling up !

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A right turn filter light on the traffic signal would have probably prevented the accident. Many junctions don't have them, relying on drivers to judge the speed of oncoming traffic before turning right. I also see many drivers here, especially women, so short or sitting so low in their seats that they can hardly see over the dashbard; makes you wonder if they can see anything of the road ahead.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most of the times drivers of the oncoming car step on the gas when a car is making a right turn as if they are trying to make a statement that they have the priority and a right turning car cannot make them slow.

down. I always slow down at intersections even the light is green, a right turning car might be forced to stop partially blocking the path of the oncoming car by a pedestrian or bicycle.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Dio, you might have never been or experienced worse drivers there in South East Asia then!

Lane changing, right/left turning without the use of signal, motorcyclists running the red light almost at every traffic light/intersection, 30% (minimum) of vehicles are speeding all the time (over the speed limit) etc. Think about Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia or even more so those countries in South Asia (e.g. India, Pakistan)

The only country in Asia that is better than (or at least equal to) Japan in term of accident rate, traffic control & driving manners is Singapore.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As a driver in Japan, I would estimate that accidents at junctions are the most common accidents that I see.

The reason is that Japanese police seem to rarely enforce the law at junctions.

When enforcement increases the offense will lessen-it is quite simple a problem to solve.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

afanofjapanMay 9 08:37 am JSTNews

Not often that news gets to me like this but with a similar age daughter in daycare at the moment my eyes welled up when i saw the flowers and anpanman toys laid out for the two that died. So sad...

This seems to a worldwide custom, perhaps. Here in America makeshift memorials are made up this way, with flowers and stuffed toys on phone poles. Usually it's to honor murder victims.

On the day Prince died, many people did the same thing by laying stuff at the fence of his estate. I also remember seeing 'George shrines' being set up on the spot on TV immediately after George Harrison passed away.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 hope all the victims here recover. Seems to me like a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

2 of the victims are dead

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Siberian catMay 8  09:23 pm JST

"According to local residents, preschoolers and their teachers were frequently seen taking a walk in the area. There is a lot of traffic on the road near the area, they said.". The question is why and for what kindergarden going somewhere if such a small kids on this busy road, besides so frequently???

Because there’s nothing wrong with taking children out for a walk and they should go daily .

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Christine LougheadMay 10 04:53 pm JSTSiberian catMay 8  09:23 pm JST

"According to local residents, preschoolers and their teachers were frequently seen taking a walk in the area. There is a lot of traffic on the road near the area, they said.". The question is why and for what kindergarden going somewhere if such a small kids on this busy road, besides so frequently???

Because there’s nothing wrong with taking children out for a walk and they should go daily .

Agreed, and they should be able to do so without the fear of some idiot mowing them down.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the older folks brain are too fat clogged and old to understand anything, they should be just banned from driving..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Those who continue to demonise older folks must believe they have a painting in the attic, or drank from the fountain of youth.

You'll be old, too. And it's not as far off as you think.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thank you Toasted Heretic. There should be solutions offered, not just criticism.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ArtistAtLarge, I agree. The drivers involved in this tragedy were not "old". Plenty of accidents are caused by young drivers and there's no calls for mandatory regular checks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

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

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites