2 children killed, 3 injured after being hit by truck driven by drunk man


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RIP for those lost, Condolences to their grieving families, friends, teachers and schoolmates. Wishing for a speedy recovery for the survivors.

23 ( +26 / -3 )

Justice with the driver must be dealt quickly. The trucking company needs to pay full restitution to the families and full rehabilitation for their grossly neglectful supervision of their drivers.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

The Japanese police should do a lot more alcohol and drug testing of drivers. They only do blitzes at predictable times and places. All drivers know this and would never get caught drunk driving in the early afternoon. He will get severely penalized, but that is not going to help the the little kids he killed.

19 ( +23 / -4 )

Restrictions need to be placed on trucks like these. These things are deadly.

Limit the roads they can use, the time they can use them, and the speeds they can travel.

-2 ( +13 / -15 )

Tragic, rest in peace. He needs to be in prison for a very very long time.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Is there regular "dont drink and drive" commercials on tv in Japan, like there are in the UK? I dont watch Japanese television.

Drinking and driving in the UK was a big problem, then the government started throwing some money at the issue and generated constant messages about it, many quite graphic; the concept of it being a really bad thing is firmly lodged in the psyche of UK people; is it the same in Japan?

If not. That should be fixed.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

My God! My thoughts and prayers to these families. RIP little children, and speedy recovery for the 3 kids.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

There is no excuse.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Drinking and Driving don't mix. When will people learn?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Shocking and sickening that this animal thought he could drink and drive. He’s a double child killer and needs to be extinguished from this world.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

What a sad story.

I do not drive in Japan, but I do walk fairly early in the morning and in watching drivers, often wonder how many might have had too much to drink the night before. Australia does random checks. Might be a hassle for those who have the sense and ability to know when they should not be driving. But might send a message to those so stupidly arrogant they think they can drink and drive.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Hopefully this “human” will rot in hell for what he has done.

Rest in piece young ones. I hope your families can one day find happiness again.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Quite obviously this would not be the first time the criminal drove while drunk, maybe he used to do it at times for years without nothing happening, until it did. Now two innocent kids lost their lives but even then some people that drink and drive the same will think "this would never happen to me, I only do it rarely and I drive better with a few drinks on".

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I saw the road on NHK news last night, and it is definitely no place for children, or any pedestrians for that matter -- busy, narrow, no sidewalks, utility poles sitting on or at the road. The report also said it gets lots of large industrial trucks. So common in Japan.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

For some companies, "compliance" is just a buzzword.

Obviously so at Nanbu Transport.

That's the end of the road for them.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Only two possible solutions

1) ban motor vehicles

2) ban alcohol

This accident never would have happened if either of these were banned.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

For a country with so many pedestrians and cyclists, Japan has some of the most unsafe roads for both.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

RIP to the kids, and condolences to their families and classmates.

All commercial vehicles should have mandatory dash cams, so we at least know what happened in accidents like this. We would know if the man was driving erratically, i.e., classic DUI, or simply going too fast down a road next to school, which happens all over Japan by both DUI and non DUI drivers. Tokyo-m mentions it above, but that road goes straight past a school, but there is pavement for the kids to walk on and no slowing measures at all for the traffic. In other countries there would be speed humps and possibly speed cameras. There are plenty of other roads for people to go fast on without bombing past a school full of young children.

Having a builders yard with lots of trucks right next to a school is also classic Japanese urban planning. Safety (anzen) is something you talk about, not do anything about.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Rest in Peace to the poor children. Hoping and praying the others can somehow recover.

I fully support execution of the scum child killer who did this. Being expensively fed, sheltered and clothed in prison for 20 years is nowhere near punishment enough.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The legal limit is zero isn't it?

Above that isn't necessarily drunk or even impaired. I don't intend to excuse the driver but are they sure they have the correct cause?

Still, regardless of the cause, it doesn't bring the kids back. That's the really tragic part

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Even if Japan would have an AC public announcement about the "Don't drink and drive" topic, it would be joined with some cute music, perhaps a mascot and (must-be) some wannabe idol as secondary role actress. In other words, as inefficient as possible.

What Japan REALLY BADLY needs, is something along these lines. Yes, shocking, but eye opening. And yes, besides alcohol behind the wheel, Japan has a huge problem with texting-drivers also:

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Nanbu needs to be held every bit as accountable for this as the lout who killed these kids. There is a reason why pilots are tested before flying, whether they are "trusted" or not -- it's for safety reasons... reasons for which the kids would still be alive if the company could have been bothered to care.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

There is a documentary "One day in the life of a driver" for one of the major courier companies in Japan; showing their drivers doing a breath test at the start and at the end of their shift, so it is taken seriously by some here.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Chinen said the transport company does not make it a custom to conduct alcohol tests for drivers, trusting them not to drink before or during work.

A family friend friend that owns a transportation company does daily alcohol checks of the drivers each time they arrive back at the company. Any driver screw up is a liability for the company and risk being sued putting them in jeopardy .

7 ( +7 / -0 )


And using your logic, if even one person is executed who was actually innocent, it is not worth it. I don't think anyone can promise the system is perfectly infallible.

It is an irreversible penalty. With life imprisonment you can always backtrack and release someone wrongfully imprisoned, hopefully with a lot of compensation. You can't give them the years back, but you try to make amends. If you execute someone, that is it.

On topic though, are we arguing that this person deserves the death penalty for some reason? Even if you support it, that seems to be an extreme response for manslaughter.

0 ( +3 / -3 )


Look at the road where it happened.... not even a pavement. Road design in Japan is awful, giving priority to cars all of the time, and making life dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

Exactly. Many of the roads I walk on are like these. I can get nervous when a car approaches. Sometimes, I feel it's actually better to walk on the right side of the road so I can at least see the cars. Many city roads in Japan aren't even fit to be village roads.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Those who kill children deserve no mercy, I hope he gets the long drop. Not long ago a driver who hit a couple cutting grass was given the death penalty, I hope that serves as precedent and gets used again this monster.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Chinen said the transport company does not make it a custom to conduct alcohol tests for drivers, trusting them not to drink before or during work.

Umezawa has worked for the company since April 2005, and started work around 6 a.m. on Monday, according to Chinen.

I find it EXTREMELY difficult to believe that this was the first time this driver drank and drove his truck.

Probably had a history of drinking, and people just chose to NOT pay attention to it!

IMHO drinking and driving, is NOT an accident, but premeditated murder. No one forced him to drink, and everyone knows, drinking and driving IS illegal. He knowingly did both, hence it being premeditated.

But everyone knows too, he will NOT be charged as such, no one ever is. And until laws get to the point where drinking and driving and causing death are charged as such, and given the death sentence, people are not going to stop.

Until next time!

(I know, really I know, it's not a popular opinion. I drink, and in close to 50 years of drinking, I have NEVER drank and drove any type of vehicle. Alcohol impairs driving abilities, everyone knows it. But some will say that it affects different people in different ways. Yeah that's true, but the law can not take into account everyone!)

3 ( +8 / -5 )

...that I come from (less than 2 million people):

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Quite obviously this would not be the first time the criminal drove while drunk, maybe he used to do it at times for years without nothing happening

No not obviously. This is silly guessing that brings really nothing constructive to the discussion.

 Will there be speed humps and other calming measures put in? Will there be a 25km/hour speed limit put in?

Does not help for a drunk man driving a truck because he would not have respected the speed limit anyway. That's not the point here.

No the real question is why in 2021, trucks in Japan are not equipped with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device. The company is also irresponsible for not taking all safety measures available to them, and their excuse of trusting their drivers is pathetic knowing the drinking habit in many Japanese men and how alcohol is prevalent in Japanese society. Given the size of these vehicles and that they operate in narrow streets with pedestrians, this is just unacceptable anymore that they can be driven without a safety system.

Another thing is that maybe maybe, at some point some reason should prevail in Japanese parents mind so that they stop insisting to send their kids walking across dangerous streets.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

I feel so sorry for the parents. It’s impossible to ever fully recover from such a tragedy. My heart goes out to them.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

What’s he doing drunk while working at 3pm? Throw the book at him.

Alcohol is a terrible drug, by the way.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

No not obviously. This is silly guessing that brings really nothing constructive to the discussion.

Like you only post comments here that are? It IS obvious, it's not like a 60 year old guy just suddenly up and decided to drink and drive for the first time.

If it was a 20 year old young adult, I might agree with you, but there is no way in hell someone his age did it for the first time. Odds are he never got caught before, that's all!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

So what are they going to do to make road safe ?

This one was drunk, that do not change the fact that road should be safe for everyone. Vehicle are dangerous anything can happen which could make it end up loose its way and end up in other people. So what are we to do ?

@ Chabbawanga

I would more likely say :

1) ban motor vehicles

2) make road safe

The road should be designed so that risk do not exist (or tend to that if technological knowledge do not allow it). Nobody should be run over being by someone drunk / having a heartstroke / having car trouble / ... or whatever. As of now in most of the road peanuts is done, that is not normal.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

In Australia there has been an ongoing campaign for Don't Drink and Drive for over the last 30 years.

Morons still drink and drive.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Often see those kinds of trucks hurtling down narrow streets in built-up areas with no sidewalks, sometimes well over the speed limit and driving aggressively by "yankee" looking types.

But we all know Japan Inc. prioritizes construction companies, car companies and concrete over the lives of its children.


3 ( +5 / -2 )

I saw the road on NHK news last night, and it is definitely no place for children, or any pedestrians for that matter -- busy, narrow, no sidewalks, utility poles sitting on or at the road. The report also said it gets lots of large industrial trucks. So common in Japan.

This is a major problem in this country. Given the time of the day these were likely children walking in a group home from elementary school, meaning that this road was part of the school route.

The fact is that a very large proportion of Japan's roads, probably the majority, is just not even remotely safe to be used as a school route. No sidewalks or shoulders, busy two way traffic on roads that aren't even wide enough for cars to pass each other, utility poles everywhere, etc. But its basically impossible to avoid having school routes include them sometimes because they are the only roads which exist in many communities.

My son's own route requires him to walk a short distance along one of these roads for that reason - its impossible to avoid it. What scares the crap out of me is that a substantial number of drivers - not just drunks - using that road do not drive at speeds that are just way too fast for the conditions. Its a constant source of worry for me that all it takes is one a-hole driving too fast and my 6 year old son taking a wrong step at the wrong moment to end up as a story like this. Its outrageous that people put up with it, way more attention should be paid on ways to get drivers to drive sensibly on streets like that.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Reminds me of the crane accident that happened a decade ago. Sad.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

negligent driving resulting in injury

That's not negligent driving resulting in injury.

The man killed those children.

Right the driver killed the kids. The city/planners and METI are negligent for allowing trucks on roads like these - so shouldn't we start to hold cities/planners/METI accountable for the deaths and injuries that are the inevitable and predictable result of their decisions and/or inaction?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

All these truck drivers need to be more thoroughly managed and controlled the way they race around often thinking they are driving a ferrari or at least seem to behave that way.

Truck Drivers, Taxi Drivers, Bus Drivers etc are professional drivers and should be held to a higher standard and correct driving manners enforced.

Time they were put under proper scrutiny and made to comply with traffic rules, breath tested drug tested and made to pass a license test more often.

Taxi drivers in Tokyo seem to think they own the damn road .............................

So sad for the children and the poor families to have to deal with this tragedy RIP to the young ones, lets hope this truck driver gets what we all think he deserves.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My question is how bad is your job that you have to be mashed up drunk at 3:30pm on a Monday?

How bad is your life that you have to be so drunk on the job and be behind the wheel of a truck? smh

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wow that is so so sad, can't even imagine the pain those families are going through. My son is 7 and walks to and from school in a group just like these kids everyday. Just awful!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Local roads like this one where this accident happened, only a short distance outside of the larger cities in Japan, are narrow and often with electric poles, making it difficult to move straight on for pedestrians and bicycles and there is no sidewalk. Local streets in rural areas are often very dark during nighttime with no or very few streetlights.

If you drive a truck or bus the only what you can do about is to drive very slowly and pay attention to the road and especially look out for pedestrians and bicycles all the time.

While living still in Tokyo and using my motorcycle, car and also driving heavy vehicles sometimes, I was often checked by police - driving licence, alcohol - at random.

However now living outside in a suburb of a smaller city in Western Japan and retired, I can only say, police is almost not existing and even in case of accidents it takes time for police and ambulance to arrive.

Roads are narrow, left and right are rice fields and drainage for water, electric poles, no streetlights during night, rarely even a white border line on the road - pedestrians are using yellow reflecting ribbons and torch lights after darkness to be seen by cars. About school, there are some volunteers, retired people, who help to guide the children along the street and at crossings. Really dangerous, not safe at all.

I am happy, now retired, no need anymore for me to drive heavy vehicles for a salary in Japan. Now I drive only my small car and ride my motorcycle, and I do this very slowly.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Is there regular "dont drink and drive" commercials on tv in Japan, like there are in the UK? I dont watch Japanese television.

Yes, there are public service announcements in Japan. The last one is a YouTube video story where the dog loyally waits for his owner, killed by a drunk driver, to return.

Look at the road where it happened.... not even a pavement. Road design in Japan is awful, giving priority to cars all of the time,

There needs to be guard rails and sidewalks but it looks to be a country road.

He was working at the time. The company has liability does it not?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No not obviously. This is silly guessing that brings really nothing constructive to the discussion.

As other comments have made evident, it is quite obvious. If you were not able to understand the meaning of the comment and how it applies to the situation you can always let those that did discuss it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don’t already understand why not all such roads or road parts are closed for any traffic during those some minutes in the morning and afternoon. So many other driving restrictions when it comes to deliveries, business hours in city centers , commuting in the morning and evening and all such, but not even one for the safety of little children on their way to school and back. You should really change the priorities a bit. Or do you have too many children? The numbers don’t tell that, in contrary.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This sort of thing is now far more avoidable than in the past.

Having been a paramedic, having seen far to many drunk driving accidents back then.

I for one am all for mandatory installation on all vehicles breathalyzer no start systems.

This means every time someone tries to drive they need to blow into an ignition connected breathalyzer any alcohol detected and the car is immobilized.

I don't care about "your rights" I have been hit by a drunk driver in Japan ( no serious injuries).

I have rescued and treated people hit by drunk drivers and I have transported far to many killed by drunk drivers in a very short 5 years in my youth.

And far to often these drunks just walk away with barely a scratch.

We have the technology let's use it!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Rest in peace, innocent souls.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@yokohamarides, "Restrictions need to be placed on trucks" although i feel your thought are driven by this accident, the implications of your thoughts would not work, trucks travel long distances and drivers work long hours, restricting them to a 8-5 work day or just over night, would have massive consequences for every one, car manufactures would not get there components for several days delaying them the delivery of new cars would be dalyed, the food store would run dry quickly as quite often they deliver over night so the shop is fully stocked ready for opening at 7.30am, your morning post would be delayed to, as for restricting them on certain roads, how do trucks going to conbinis deliver there goods? if your talking about only trucks can move over night, how about the garbage/trash trucks, will you and your neighbours be happy to be woken up at 2 am as the trash truck and the crew collect the bins?

since this guy hit the kids in the late afternoon, it would surgest that he had a drink at dinner time, so breath testing someone at 6am would not have picked this up, either way the co should have a drugs and alcohol policy. either way the guy is a proffetional and he should have known better not to have ANY booze whilst at work.

It must be the worst thing about being a cop, and thats going to someone house and telling them that a loved one has been killed in an accident, I hope there is a lot of support for the bereaved families.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

would have massive consequences for every one, 

Agreed but those consequences would be positive.

Children’s lives, shouldn’t be subservient to any trucking company’s need to delivery a product on time.

There are many alternatives to the status quo - hub and spoke systems for one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Drunk driving isn't the main issue here. Terrible infrastructure is. In the first place, choosing such narrow and dangerous road as a school road is a unforgivable negligence by local governments. Japan is an interesting country where big cities look like 2050 but countryside (80%) of the country is stuck in 1950's.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"He needs to be in prison for a very very long time."

I'm sure it's not going to be just prison time.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Just saw yesterday the news about one truck driver being sentenced to death, and today another one killing children. It is like a horror deja vu.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Eliminate this man immediately ! He is too dangerous and must pay the ultimate price for his reckless action.

Japanese police must conduct random tests for professional drivers, I suspect, given the number of accidents reported, too many of these old guys are drinking and driving.

Moreover, something must be done to enforce zebra crossing regulations. These drivers need to be educated the hard way. Whats I see on the streets of Chiba is unacceptable and extremely dangerous. No one bothers stopping.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


9th grade social studies homework: pros and cons of abolishing capital punishment on JT, seriously?


*The issue here is NOT the roads, infrastructure etc...*

Your data is on road death/ population but you missed the point. You argument should be that even with guardrails or better roads, the number of deaths in Japan would not go down, which would be a statement that is hard to back.

So with guardrails the number you gave 3000 per 126 million would even be better. Also don’t think the argument is that drinking and driving didn’t cause deaths.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Listen please understand I am not boasting, or saying I am great or special.

Despite the facts and laws back in my country that permits drinking a certain amount of alcohol and driving as long as one is below the legal limit, I have never once had a single drink before driving.

The reasons are simple my first profession was as a paramedic and I witnessed far far to many car accidents involving drinking and driving, and these accidents seemed to always be the worst.

Once you have witnessed dead and dying children, a pregnant woman crunched in a car that a drunk truck driver ran right over, children left without parents, etc...this changes you forever.

People can go on and on about bad roads, bad infrastructure but the reality is drinking and driving is the problem here in this article and anyone thinking of having even one drink and driving think long and hard and ask yourself " do I really need this drink" and " is it worth the risk".

I am well into my late 50s I was in my late teens early 20s as a paramedic and I still see the faces and bodies like it was yesterday and those that responded to this accident will more than likely have the same.

So many lives are affected by one stupid act!

0 ( +1 / -1 )


No the issue is a drunk driver, but I suspect you know that and trying to deflect and saying "guardrails" etc .is just that an attempted at changing the subject from drinking and driving to anything other than the alcohol factor.

Why you and others are trying so hard to deflect from this fact, I don't know but there has to be a reason!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

To the "its the roads" crowd notice the photo in the article?

Do you all see how wide that particular road is?

Now tell us again how this could have been avoided it a guardrail etc..was there?

Notice where that truck is? No guardrail would have stopped that truck enough.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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