crime

Driver arrested after car hits, kills 5-year-old boy on crossing

45 Comments

Police said Sunday they have arrested the 26-year-old driver of a car that hit and killed a 5-year-old boy on a crossing in Hachioji, Tokyo.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 1:30 p.m. Saturday. TBS reported that the boy was on the crossing when he was hit from the left by a car driven by Yuki Yamazaki, a company employee. The boy was taken to hospital with severe head injuries and died a short time later, police said.

Police said the boy was with his mother at the time, on their way to a local school sports festival. The boy was walking ahead of his mother when the incident occurred.

Yamazaki was quoted by police as saying he didn't notice the boy on the crossing until it was too late.

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45 Comments
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Japanese drivers do not ever stop at crossings. Quite a few times I've had drivers actually swerve around me on the crossing. I remember when I get my license many years ago I was told to cover my breaks and if someone was waiting to cross you had to stop. I've seen drivers in Japan accelerate when they saw me at the crossing. RIP little fella. I'm saddened by this, but I'm not surprised.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Japanese drivers do not ever stop at crossings.

What a ridiculous statement.

-7 ( +12 / -19 )

@strangerland it's true eh. They don't stop a lot of the time. Every day I use pedestrian crossings without a signal just stripes and people don't stop. I have to stare them down. Once even at a crossing with lights a car sped through and me and my friends had to run out of the way.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but a blanket statement claiming that all Japanese people don't ever stop at crossings is ridiculous.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Japanese drivers do not ever stop at crossings.

A lot more rule followers in Kanto than here in Kansai I noticed. I have had many near accident as a pedestrian and cars seem to have the right of way plus go through red lights and against opposing traffic to pass you if driving. However, drivers are 10 times more polite here than I would ever experience in the U.S.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I must agree with Disillusioned - I too have had cars swerve around me and keep going whilst I was mid-crossing. I just assume these days drivers won't stop and wait a bit longer. Very confusing for little kids, however, and tragedies like this are sometimes the end result. Rest in Peace, little Angel.

May they throw the book at this reckless man who has caused the death of an innocent child.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Motor vehicles are the leading cause of death for children from 2 to 14 years old. In a sane world this would be unacceptable. If any other product caused so much death and destruction, so persistently, it would be illegal - but no, for the sake of convenience/status the economy etc. people will go on driving and cities will go on building auto-centric infrastructure that has the effect of increasing the number of cars on the road and the speeds that they travel.

For safe streets (and better more livable streets) cities need to begin to take steps that would result in fewer cars, moving at slower speeds. Many cities in the world have done this through road diets(taking lanes away from cars), protected bicycle lanes and sidewalks, speed bumps, stop signs, and more (strictly enforced) speed restrictions. The auto industry won`t like it but until this is done the killing will continue.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I must agree with Disillusioned

You agree that all Japanese drivers never stop at crossings?

Still just a ridiculous as when he said it.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Strangerland:

Is it your purpose to come on JT and defend every single thing said that criticizes the Japanese? To quote you, that's a pretty zero-sum type of thinking. Maybe Disillusioned went a bit OTT with his 'Japanese never' statement, but I think this comes from the frustration at seeing MOST drivers here not stopping, even when the pedestrian lights are green, unless the driver thinks that not stopping will kill someone.

Disillusioned:

Quite a few times I've had drivers actually swerve around me on the crossing.

And that has happened to me so many times. You'd think stopping for 3 seconds wouldn't be painful for the drivers. Where I come from, it's an offence not to stop for pedestrians at crossings and if a policeman sees you do this, he'll stop you. I've had fewer shocks crossing the roads in USA.

Yamazaki was quoted by police as saying he didn’t notice the boy on the crossing until it was too late

I don't know whether he's just trying to save his skin, but I notice a lot of drivers never look left or right when they're turning, just straight ahead.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

You can wait for hours for a car to stop when you are in the crosswalk. And when you do venture out the approaching car will screech to a halt as it had no intention of obeying the law regarding crosswalks. Busses do stop for pedestrians as they know the law and and obey it. Cars do not. Hence the death of this five year old and others in the past and sadly in the future.

Can you imagine the mother looking up and seeing her boy run over by this idiot who most likely was smoking in the car or texting or on the phone.

At least in this post no one is blaming for the child for being in the way of the car, as happens many times on JT unfortunately.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Is it your purpose to come on JT and defend every single thing said that criticizes the Japanese?

Not at all. I am well critical of Japan and the Japanese when it's something to be critical. But I stand by my original comment, that saying all Japanese drivers never stop at crossings is ridiculous. And to go on with:

I think this comes from the frustration at seeing MOST drivers here not stopping, even when the pedestrian lights are green, unless the driver thinks that not stopping will kill someone.

This is ridiculous as well. Have you ever lived in the countryside? Have you lived in other parts of the country than wherever you are now? I've lived in and traveled to lots of this country, and while I agree that it happens lots, it's ridiculous to say that most or all Japanese drivers never stop at crosswalks.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Depends what you mean by "crosswalk".

At zebra crossings, without traffic lights, nobody stops, ( which is a shock for anyone from the UK.)

At pelican crossings, with lights, everyone stops

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@Disillusioned,

You are right. Strangerland is being ridiculous. I think we all know by now that when someone uses 'everyone' it means a very large number. Stopping isnt in the mindset here. I always amazed why the cops dont sort this crap out. So obvious and pathetic. So pathetic that I often walk into a koban and give the cops a piece of my mind.

The mother should have also been paying attention. Get a grip parents. You take far too many chances with all things associated with the road.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I think we all know by now that when someone uses 'everyone' it means a very large number.

Really? Because I think that if you look up the word, it means something slightly different, and more along the lines of 'every single person'. That's quite different from your assertion.

Also, I think you people making this assertion that most Japanese people never stop at crosswalks have not lived or traveled much in the country.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

cars not stopping in front of a red light or rushing a cross a zebrazone and kids not wearing seatbelts inside the car are 2 of my biggest pet peeves. Glad im not the only one, unfortunately I dont see this solved anytime soon .

6 ( +6 / -0 )

All the time drivers swerve around me on the crossing outside this building, desperate to get to the red stop light a hundred yards down the road a couple of second earlier.

When I'm sufficiently old I'm going to buy a walking stick with a sharp, metallic end and scrape it along the sides of those idiots as they try to manoeuvre around me.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

He didn't noticed? Wrong - he probably DID noticed and just choose to ignore him. At least once a week I encounter drivers ignoring me on a cross, where a person has priority. I guess the police should get busy and start catching these guys...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There is a "supposed" law regarding pedestrians having the rights at crosswalks and common sense. Unfortunately, children don't have the same sense like us older ones do. Just the other day, trying to go across a painted crosswalk, many cars were not letting me cross. I was out to about 1/4 of the way and cars were still passing acting like they had never seen me. Then, a police car was among of cars coming, thinking surely they would stop for me. As I stepped further out thinking they'd stop, I had to use my "common sense" real quick and step back. Boy, I sure wish I had something to throw at the police car, as they didn't even blink an eye as they passed me. If the police are doing it, how can you enforce it?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

There really needs to be stop signs at these crosswalks. Make a full stop mandatory.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ yokohamarides

Make a full stop mandatory

Full stops are mandatory, but the jpolice rarely monitor or enforce it, making them ineffective. This is why Japan has so many stop lights. A lot people ignore the stop signs but not the stop lights.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I feel safer ignoring the official crossings and just crossing the road using my own judgement, which is a genuinely sad indictment of the road usage here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Majority of Japanese drivers are impatient and don't come to a complete stop. I too experienced drivers literally plowing through cross walks or trying to squeeze through. Some seem angry like it's the pedestrian's fault. It's really road rage. Also running red lights, speeding, talking / texting on the phone, child safety are big problems here in Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Of course the vast majority of Japanese drivers stop at crossings. If they didn't it would be a bloodbath on the roads. It is equally true to say that some of the driving habits in Japan are pretty poor and general standard of road use and awareness is poor. My few pet hates are running red lights as they turn red, bicycles riding in the street on the wrong side, fast lane hogging on the highway, lack of concentration (e.g. using keitai) when driving. anbd, on the topic of crossings, pedestrians crossing, the light goes red against them and they continue to amble across the road like nothing happened....... Per capita road deaths are sooo low here compared with other countries that i guess they must be doing something tright.....

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Is it your purpose to come on JT and defend every single thing said that criticizes the Japanese?

Pukey, I think Strangerland is defending the English language, not Japan or the Japanese.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

99.9% Never stop at a cross walk.

It is absolutley rediculous here.

I deliberately bang something into their car hard on the side when they do it to me. Not one has ever cared to stop. Has to cost them a fortune to get it fixed.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I have to say that very few Japanese drivers stop or even slow down at crosswalks...which makes crosswalks a danger by Lull the pedestrian into a false sense of security...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Really? Because I think that if you look up the word, it means something slightly different,

Speaking of ridiculous...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Just for the self preservation of Japan with the population shortage you'd think the 5-Os here would be enforcing pedestrian laws. Guess bike registration checks are bigger in generating fines.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sorry, but this one is 100% on the driver, with no fault on the part of the kid. While of course not ALL drivers in Japan fail to stop, most do, and in fact many accelerate when it comes to there being yellow and even red lights at intersections. I'm assuming in this case we are dealing with a 'zebra crossing', or in other words a "cars still have priority" crossing. While of course I've had a number of kind people stop when they saw me standing at or even approaching the crossing, they are the exception that actually follows the rules. The majority do not.

Seriously, if the police ever want to make the municipalities in this nation rich, they should just stand at an intersection or walk down a street near a convenience store or department store and start by nailing the cars that are illegally parked (hazard lights or not!), especially those around crossings as it makes it even harder to see a person about to cross. Then bust the people who do not stop at a crossing while someone is waiting, and most definitely bust those people who go through a red, regardless of whether it JUST turned red or not. Yellow is for caution, not for speeding up!

RIP to this little guy. Let's hope Yamazaki has a good little while in prison to CONSTANTLY think about the fact that he should have been more cautious.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@smith

Cars absolutely don't have priority at zebra crossings. What would be the point of them in that case?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

i think people see what they wanna see. i live at a pretty busy intersection on yamate road in tokyo, and all the cars stop for pedestrians. i guess it just depends on where you are. but blanket statements like "all japanese this or that" only makes the writer seem racist.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

As a "gaijin" driver, I most certainly DO respect and stop at these "crossings" but when a woman - pushing a baby carriage - ran out from behind a bus - in the MIDDLE of the road where there was NO crossing, it was lucky I managed to slam on the brakes just in time... Pedestrians are also to blame if they don't even use the crossings.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

As a gaijin driver, I used to stop for children/pedestrians at crosswalks, but on a few occasions, when I slowed to a stop before the crosswalk, I saw a car barreling down on me and screeched to a stop a few meters from my car. My life flashed before me. And on a few other occasions, when I stopped, cars approaching me from behind treated me like a parked car and went around me only to scare the daylights out of the pedestrians trying to cross, seeing that stopped for them. Now, I'm guilty as 99.9% of the Japanese drivers out there. If there are no cars behind me, I will stop. However if there is any sight of cars behind me, I don't stop for the pedestrians, both for their safety, as well as mine.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This pedestrian crossings are difficult to navigate sometimes. People waiting to cross sometimes are waiting for the road to clear of cars in order to cross, not necessarily waiting for cars to stop.

I was once in an accident and got a hefty fine when a sobbing student scolded by her teacher for forgetting her homework, suddently left the school grounds and ran into the drivers side of my car at the crossing.

I don't agree that the 26 year old driver should be dealth with severely depending on his actions at the accident site. Did he try to help the victim? Did he call for help? Was he speeding? Was he drinking? etc. All these are factors the police will consider when punishing him. I once told my sons that in an accident the first thing to do is to help the victim.

Naturally he'll never be able to compensate the victim's family but he should try.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You should always stop for pedestrians, if the person behind you does not stop and rear-ends you, the cause of the accident is 100% the person that hit you from behind and you will share 0%, it happened to me. Here in Okinawa it is really bad. 99.999% of drivers DO NOT stop for pedestrians. Happened to me just yesterday. Stay safe peeps!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I am always on defense while walking in Japan, the crosswalks and even walking on the side of the road can be dangerous because many people don't look before pulling in or pulling out. I had an incident similar to what someone mentioned, where a car did stop for me and a motorcycle served around it and came within centimeters of hitting me.

I was very glad to see police have been watching an area in my city with lots of schools quite often lately and pulling over cars that don't stop for pedestrians. . I'm with Smith, lets get them out there ticketing people. Earn their keep and more people will think about the consequences if it actually effects their pocketbooks.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's time Road Traffic policing agencies accept more responsibility for road accidents as they do not enforce traffic rules or educate drivers through aggressive public campaigns and ads in the media, like television.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Napanese drivers are lame. Better in Kanto than Kansai is true. In France, if a car expects not to stop at zebra pedestrian crossing, it may get damaged by the pedestrian himself defending his right. Japanese are weak on some modern rules, that is known.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hmmm, in my experience Japanese drivers do slow down and stop and give pedestrians the right of way, as the traffic code stipulates, most of the time. Personally I would be holding a five year old's hand, they don't know danger at that age, are not as focused on what's going on. The driver, 26, male... fits the bill for not paying attention too. All round a very sad and miserable accident. Nice to see Strangerland has stopped trolling.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There are many "yuzuri-au" (give way to others [drivers]) signs on the road, but really no signage or other education of any kind that drivers should be careful of pedestrians (let alone cyclists).

The kid was hit from the left means that the kid had got over halfway across the crosswalk before he was hit, plenty of time for the driver to notice him (no view obstruction was mentioned in the article). It's not impossible this driver had never stopped for a pedestrian on a crosswalk and it never even occurred to him that braking was an option.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

12 years of living in Tokyo and I have not once seen a car stop at a pedestrian crossing to let a pedestrian cross the road. They are universally ignored - cars park right on them and the police will walk past and not do anything. This is why there are no roundabouts in Japan - they require too much common sense.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@shonanbbOCT ... I deliberately bang something into their car hard on the side when they do it to me. Not one has ever cared to stop. Has to cost them a fortune to get it fixed.

Fortunately for you people like the ramen guy Shinichiro Imanishi are an extreme minority, and the number of people who pack guns in their car are probably even fewer. Would you do that in the US?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

3 years in Japan (Kansai) and I always thought the law was drivers had the right-of-way at crosswalks without signals. You wait for an opening and don't expect cars to stop, because they don't. I'm surprised to learn the law is actually otherwise. I remember traveling in Okinawa drivers were much more courteous and would slow down well ahead of the crossing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I cant imagine what the mother is feeling right now. If i watched my child get hit by a car i would be distraught, even more when i new if i was closer i might have been able to save him. Prayers for the mother

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The law doesn't require stopping for pedestrians on the sidewalk waiting or looking as if they intend to cross at zebra crossings, unless there is a stop sign or light. Often, the pedestrians are (probably wisely) waiting for the traffic to clear so that they can cross without risk.

The law does require, however, that once a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, drivers must stop until the pedestrian has completely crossed the road. Not just the area in front of the car, the entire road, including the lane(s) for traffic going in the opposite direction, if any. I've been told that many times, by police on the street and at licensing centers. It's not really practical on many metropolitan roads, but that's the way it's supposed to be.

I've been a car driver, a motorcycle rider, a bicyclist, and a pedestrian here for well over 40 years in big cities and small, in urban and rural areas. In my experience, many but not most drivers--perhaps around 60% nationwide-- stop long enough to let pedestrians cross at least the area in front of their vehicles. Probably less than 10% of those actually wait for the pedestrian to completely finish crossing, often defying the blaring klaxons of impatient motorists behind them.

The 40% or so (in my experience as both driver and walker) who fail to give way for crossing pedestrians tend to be very brazen about it, and truly a menace, often including weaving--usually very inexpertly--around the pedestrians. It's amazing that there aren't more tragedies like the one in this article. I suspect that the perception that "all Japanese drivers" or "most Japanese drivers" or "99% of Japanese drivers" are doing this is (somewhat understandably) due to their high visibility causing observational bias.

Once in a while, a lot less frequently than they should, the police will ticket drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians at zebra crossings. The police in the box at the crossing of Omotesando and Aoyama Dori used to do it once ot twice a week during the morning rush hour, for example, as did the cops at the intersection of Kan-nana and 246 (Kamiuma), and I've seen it done at various crossings in Setgaya, Ota, Meguro, Minato, and Shinagawa wards, and at various places around Yokohama and Omiya. However, unless that happens to be the theme of the current traffic safety campaign, it's not done nearly often enough.

Also, having a cop on foot trying to stop and ticket a driver for going through a crosswalk ignoring pedestrians is certainly not the most efficient of law enforcement techniques. To be fair, the cops in Omotesando and Kamiuma sometimes had a motorcycle cop for backup to chase down scofflaws.

For what it's worth, I always stop until pedestrians have finished crossing, and even offer those waiting on the sidewalk a chance to cross if they wish. It often makes me unpopular with impatient motorists behind me, but I couldn't care less.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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