national

1-yr-old girl dies after being hit by car in Iwate supermarket car park

59 Comments

Police in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, said Tuesday that a one-year-old girl died after she was hit by a car in a supermarket car park.

According to police, the accident occurred at around 10:20 a.m. on Monday. The child, identified as Yukiho Sasaki, was walking with her mother back to their car after shopping when she was hit by a car turning left in the car park, TBS reported.

Yukiho was taken to hospital, but died three hours later, police said, adding they are questioning the 63-year-old woman driver of the car to find out what happened.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

59 Comments
Login to comment

Parenting award!

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

parking lot is NOT the place where you should ever let your small kids walk around without holding their hands. Small kids are very hard to see from the driver's seat and even if the car is going very slow (as they should be), it harms small kids when hit. it's one thing when you let your small kids' hands go in an open area, but at a supermarket parking lot is just NOT the place for that.. sigh.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Parenting award!

And driving award! It's pretty clear the one year old was running freely through the car park cos if she was being held by her mother she wouldn't be dead. However, the driver should also be questioned cos she should have been travelling at a safe speed that allowed her to stop quickly in a car park. I've seen many cars travelling through supermarket and department store car parks as if they were main roads and doing speeds in excess of 40kph.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Why is there such an investment in fate in Asia? If parents instead invested in holding a child's, a toddler's hand, putting the child seat in the car, watching when by the sea, river... QED.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I don't know how often I've seen this scenario here, a parent walking a few meters ahead of their toddler who looks like he/she has only been able to walk for a few months in his/her short life... with the parent walking quite quickly and sometimes calling out "Abunai yo" whenever the child is getting to close to the road or walking in the wrong direction... I feel sad for this driver, who thanks to negligent parenting is going to have a tough time ahead in a place where drivers are usually found guilty to some degree regardless of fault. RIP to the little one.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I wish this country would invest in some serious commonsense. A 1 year old in a car park (even though she was with her mother)......you don't have to be a genius to see the trouble that could be had, or in this case sadly, did have, if not held by the hand or even picked up.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Guessing the car was parked and made a left turn as it proceeded to get out hitting the poor girl which only means the girl was being unprotected walking on the left side of her mom and was out of sight from the old lady's point of view... at least that's the only theory I can think of mentioning about "turning left"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Have seen this weekly in my neck of the woods. Hold those hands of little ones people. A parking lot I'd not a park.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

wow, a lot of comments chastising the mom for not holding the child's hand even though there is no mention of how the child was actually killed.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

A 1-year old in the parking lot must not walk alone. Period. Unbelievable that a mother would think otherwise.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think the way people park their cars in Japan (reversing backwards into the space) means that they often leave the parking space at very high speed, since they are already pointing forwards. I don't know if it was a factor in this terrible accident, but has anyone else noticed this side effect of parking habits in Japan?

I can't count the number of close calls I've witnessed with other cars, kids and adults alike because of this.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Unfortunately Is very comun see little kids running in the streets, parking areas as they were in their play ground. Most of parents seems to have a poor sense of what" TAKE CARE " really means! " Kioskete ne" as someone mentioned in a comment before doesn't make any sense when you are in charge of a child. Legally the car's driver has the responsibility but you know is just parents responsibility.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

wow, a lot of comments chastising the mom for not holding the child's hand even though there is no mention of how the child was actually killed.

Well had the mom been holding the child's hand the mom would have been hit as well and I'm pretty sure it would be noted in the article.

Let's be honest, we've ALL seen kids running wild in parking lots here. Mom or dad walking 10 meters ahead, kid lagging behind. Mom pushing the cart, kid darting in and out of cars.

I had to slam on my brakes last week to avoid a kid who went flying out of the grocery store - automatic doors and no parent to be seen. Had I hit the kid, it would have been my fault even though really, no it would have been the car takers for not looking after the child properly. I honestly believe that some parents here don't love their kids and have no sense. Hold their hands, damn it. I am so sick and tired of reading about dead kids because many parents here don't have a clue about parenting.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I hate parking lots here, because cars are packed so tightly & yes kids & adults are ALL OVER THE PLACE in parking lots, I have seen too many close calls. Toss in the fact that most drivers in said parking lots IGNORE the stop signs painted on the ground etc & its a very dangerous place!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My sympathies to the poor car driver.

Parent needs a good slap across the head and a boot in the r'sss, poor child lost their life because of parents negligence.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

That's why I HATE using supermarket parking lots... I'm always afraid some little kid will either come running out or already be behind my car (while I was getting into it) with no-one watching him/her. I also feel very bad for the driver.

RIP little one.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

StormR,

I think the parent has been punished enough.

Was the driver's view perhaps obscured by a sunshade on the front passenger window?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Rest in peace, little girl. I hope you get a better deal next time around.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think the parent has been punished enough.

They have but you know what I would support? Cops hanging out and ticketing parents for allowing this crap to happen in the first place. Same with the lack of seatbelts. That poor driver has to suffer for the rest of their life because this child's mother wasn't responsible. That's a horrible thing to live with. I see it faaaaar too often here and then everyone does the old "The parents have been punished enough" thing. Fine. Punish the parents who allow this crap to happen BEFORE their kid dies a preventable death.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

This is the mothers fault. Bad parenting, why do people think it is okay for a 1 year old to walk by themselves? Why is it too hard to hold their hand or carry them

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This is the mothers fault. Bad parenting, why do people think it is okay for a 1 year old to walk by themselves? Why is it too hard to hold their hand or carry them.

I think some might say that regardless of the moral resposibilities of the mother to hold the child's hand, the legal responsibility is on the driver in the parking lot to drive at a speed where they can stop almost instantly for anything. I think the speed limit is 10km/h in a parking lot. None of us will probably drive that slowly but the limit was put in place by experts who have probably examined countless incidents like this. Its a tough call, since we really have very little info on how this unfolded.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@gogogo

This is the mothers fault. Bad parenting, why do people think it is okay for a 1 year old to walk by themselves? Why is it too hard to hold their hand or carry them

Or use a "harness". I know a lot of people are against these but my mother used one for us and it was actually "fun" ! We pretended to be a "horse" or a "dog"... I made one for my friends' baby in Hikone and they were really pleased !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

M3M3M3 so now the car was speeding, no where does it say that, and have you never driven a car, motor vehicles cannot stop instantly no matter what speed they move at. This is why it is advised and comon sense to hold a child's hand or carry them in car parks and other places of danger.

Here we go again some one else wants to shift the blame and responsibility, the simple fact is the parent should have taken proper care and control of the child regardless, you cannot shift that responsibility or deflect it, the driver is probably as much a victim here as the child, and perhaps the child got off lighter as they will not have to life the rest of their life with the incident indelibly stamped in the memory.

The mother is the fault the blame and the responsible party END OF STORY.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

My wife makes it a rule to always hold my 3-year-old's hand whenever they are on the street but one time my daughter broke free of her grip and got hit by a bicycle. Actually it was more like a light bump, but she got an earful and it seems she learned her lesson. We don't know what happened but I think it's a little too early to say the mother was irresponsible.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@StormR

so now the car was speeding, no where does it say that

You are of course free to criticise me for assuming certain facts and then stating who some might say would be at fault if those assumptions were true. However, you cannot, without irony, go on to do the same in the next paragraph.

simple fact is the parent should have taken proper care and control of the child regardless

driver is probably as much a victim here as the child

The mother is the fault the blame and the responsible party END OF STORY.

I would point out that the original story is shorter than your comment. We are all simply speculating on what may have led to such a tragic outcome based on our own experiences of driver/parent behaviour since there is very little information to go on.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Either they are in a stroller or you carry them yourself.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Where in this article does it say the child was running free?

Where does it say the mother wasn't holding her daughter's hand?

Where in does it say the old lady sped out of her parking spot?

Lots of comments here based purely on speculation.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@tmarie Well had the mom been holding the child's hand the mom would have been hit as well and I'm pretty sure it would be noted in the article.

How can you assume that if the mother was holding the child's hand the mother would have been hit as well. Very confusing logic this would suggest that the mother could have been hit instead of the child. There is not much information in the article that leads to many of the readers speculating and blaming the mom. For all we know the mom could have been holding the child's hand and the car hit the child while doing so. WE DON'T know all the facts. What we do know is Yukiho Sasaki, was "WALKING" with her mother"BACK" to their car after shopping when she was hit by a car turning left in the car park. Nowhere does it say Yukiho was walking unattended and free roaming!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ok Speed, if the mother was holding the child's hand and the car was traveling at less than 10kph how did the kid get killed? Riddle me that batman!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

RickyVee, If she was holding the child's hand,Why wasn't she hit too?Fathers in this country are a lot more attentive with the kids.Mothers for the most part are very negligent!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Here is a link to a video in Japanese showing the crime scene. The girl was hit as they left to go back to their car. The driver was pulling out of the parking spot right beside where they were walking. I assume the mother was carrying groceries and so couldn't hold the child's hand. I speculate the mother walked beside and in front of the car and the driver assumed that there was no one else there and moved off. If the driver had checked the area, there seems to be no reason as to why they wouldn't have seen the child walking behind the mother. Its the very definition of negligence whether you like it or not.

http://www.mbs.jp/news/jnn_2216100_zen.shtml

2 ( +2 / -0 )

wow, a lot of comments chastising the mom for not holding the child's hand even though there is no mention of how the child was actually killed.

The child was killed due to injuries obtained after being struck by an automobile. The article is pretty clear about that. Whether the fatal injury was caused by the impact of the car or the child's impact with the ground is not clear, but regardless, the cause of death was due to being stuck by a car.

So you're raising the possibility that the mother actually WAS holding onto the hand of the child and merely watched as the car ran into the child? Most parents that I know would, in that situation, yank the child out of harm's way and put themselves between the car and the child. Couple that with the fact that a car is much less likely to turn into an adult than a 1-year old simply because the adult is much easier to see from the driver's seat.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think its safe to assume there was no hand holding. For me the important questions would be:

1.) Did the driver actually check to see the road was clear? Or was she just too lazy to look and assumed it was clear? (remember, the driver is (probably) sitting on the right side of the vehicle but turning left out of the parking spot... so there might be a blind spot.)

2.) How fast did the driver accelerate?

3.) Why did the driver start to turn so quickly, almost cutting the corner? You can see this in the video based on the impact point.

4.) How closely behind the mother was the child walking?

5.) Did the child run at all or behave in an unexpected way that would have led to the same result even if the driver had excercised due care and attention?

6.) Was the driver so careless that the accident would have happened regardless of whether it was a small one year old or an adult walking by?

This tragedy coupled with some people blaming the mother really bothers me. What should the outcome of this case be? Do we insist on new rules about mothers being forced to hold childrens hands or ban them from car parks entirely or do we instead insist that drivers simply display the due care and attention that the law already requires of them?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Entirely TOO MUCH speculating going on here. Try assuming nothing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Try to assume nothing? Really? A one year old kid does not wonder into traffic unless they are left free to roam. There are no assumptions! Just facts based on experience and knowledge. The mother should have had the kid sitting in a trolley if she was unable to hold her hand and the driver should have been aware of the child. No assumptions! It's a conclusion based on experience and fact called, critical thinking!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

M3M3M3JUN wrote:

I think the way people park their cars in Japan (reversing backwards into the space) means that they often leave the parking space at very high speed, since they are already pointing forwards.

There is no indication that speed was a factor in this incident. For what it's worth, it's much safer to back into a parking space than to back out.

... remember, the driver is (probably) sitting on the right side of the vehicle but turning left out of the parking spot... so there might be a blind spot.

Probably? Might? If the driver was in a foreign car with left-hand drive, it would have been mentioned. There was most certainly a very large blind spot. The car was turning left meaning the driver's view of the ground to the left was obscured by the hood. Because the driver is on the right side, a one-year old would be impossible to see even two meters from the car.

... the legal responsibility is on the driver in the parking lot to drive at a speed where they can stop almost instantly for anything.

Speed is not an issue in this case. The child got hit because the driver did not see her. Drivers don't stop for things they do not see.

Your "important questions" are fine to ask but it really doesn't matter exactly how far behind the mother that the child was walking. The mother is responsible for protecting the child and that would include noticing a car with a driver and the engine running and monitoring of the child until she was past the car.

Sadly, it seems the mother's mind was elsewhere.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I'm sure it was just an accident and that the elderly lady did not see the child. Just unfortunate. R.I.P. to the 1 year old.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Moondog

I take your points, but last time I checked it was the driver who is responsible for checking their 2 meter blind spot right? A blind spot is not a legal defence, its actually closer to a damning admission of guilt.

Regarding the mother, remember that there is no liability for failing to act (except in some extraordinary circumstances) so a court will not tell the mother "you failed to hold the child's hand... or xyz.. so you bear the responsibility". The driver on the other hand did take a positive action, and is under a duty not to take that action unless they have taken reasonable steps to ensure that it was safe to do so.

I find the ease with which some blame the mother and not the driver somewhat disturbing. I think they may be in for a rude awakening of the law if they ever hit someone. Of course I feel empathy for the driver since we have all sometimes moved without being 100% sure of safety and so it could have been us, but I don't confuse that with who bears the legal responsibility here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Entirely TOO MUCH speculating going on here. Try assuming nothing."

Agreed; the way some people comment here one could be forgiven for thinking that they were there to witness this unfortunate incident.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How can you assume that if the mother was holding the child's hand the mother would have been hit as well. Very confusing logic this would suggest that the mother could have been hit instead of the child. There is not much information in the article that leads to many of the readers speculating and blaming the mom. For all we know the mom could have been holding the child's hand and the car hit the child while doing so. WE DON'T know all the facts. What we do know is Yukiho Sasaki, was "WALKING" with her mother"BACK" to their car after shopping when she was hit by a car turning left in the car park. Nowhere does it say Yukiho was walking unattended and free roaming!!

I can assume this because I drive in this country and go grocwery shopping and see the vast majority of kids walking around without holding onto a parent's hand. I can also assume that if the mother had been holding the kid's hand, she would have been hit as well. One year olds are small and certainly not going to act as a buffer between mom and a car.

The information we have is that a one year old was killed by a car in a parking lot. A child doesn't have to be roaming free to get hit. They can easily be one meter from mom rto be hit and killed. Mom would have been hit if she was holding the child's hand.

Many of you are parents on here and it never stops shocking me how quick people are to defend the parenting here. For the most part, I find the parenting "skills" here shocking. Not a day goes by wear a I don't see a small kid cycling without a helment, kids bouncing around in cars without seat belts, kids playing in on very near roads, kids running around in parking lots. At times I am more concerned with a kid's safety than their parents are and more than once I have had to step in a get a kid out of danger because the parents couldn't be bothered or are too stupid to realise the risk their kid was in. Parking lot supervision here is a joke and we are constantly reading about small kids getting killed by cars when their parents are with them. It's horrible and sad and needs to stop happening so often.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Not in Japan but,

People say to hold hands, and that's what I was doing when some idiot tried to impress his girlfriend (wife?) by whipping around the back of my car and tearing into the adjacent parking space at high speed. He didn't see us until the last moment – and if I wasn't there, my son would have been hit and possibly killed.

Always hold hands and always drive carefully.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Car parks are lethal.

Drivers have a false sense of security in a familiar and unthreatening setting despite the blindspots (the Japanese term shikaku 死角 lit. death corner, is most descriptive) that obscure toddlers.

I've had many near misses with absent-minded shoppers nearly hitting me in car parks.

I'm glad to say (although my knees don't share the sentiment) that our five year-old still insists on going on my shoulders for the short walk between our car and the shops.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wish parents would use reins on toddlers, like they do back in England.

When I mention them to Japanese folk they say it would be "weird", and treating a kid like a dog. But given that most one-year-olds have probably less road-sense than a dog, it would seem reasonable enough to me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

M3M3M3JUN wrote:

I take your points, but last time I checked it was the driver who is responsible for checking their 2 meter blind spot right?

Yes, of course. Now ask me how many times during my 50 years driving that I have ever seen someone get out of their car, check for children in the blind spot in front or back of the car, and then get back in and pull out. (Hint: it's fewer than once.) And what about the kid who runs behind the car while you're re-fastening your seat belt.

Put the blame wherever you wish. The bottom line is that parking lots are dangerous. This is why children need close supervision.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tragic story. RIP .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Moondog

I agree that very few people get out and check their blind spot. Perhaps they should. My point is just that people need to disabuse themselves of the notion that the inconvenience of checking or blaming the mother will offer them any defence or sympathy from those who will decide who is to blame (prosecuters, judges etc.).

The fact that so many people here point out that they see terrible mothers and kids running around car parks in Japan doesn't help the drivers case, in fact it just makes the incident more foreseeable and therefore something drivers should anticipate.

In the end, the question is: Do we put the onus on mothers and children (and presumably very short people) or do we keep the onus on drivers? (saying 'both' will lead to too much uncertainty)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In the end, the question is: Do we put the onus on mothers and children (and presumably very short people) or do we keep the onus on drivers?

The parents - not the kids. If you have a child that is around traffic, you need to make sure you keep that kid safe. Yes, drivers need to take care but when you often can't see kids because of their height, no amount of checking and slowing down will help. Drivers see adults and therefore know to be careful. A small kid running arounf? Can't be seen which is why parents need to hold their hands or pick them up or use a harness.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

M3M3M3:

" I think some might say that regardless of the moral resposibilities of the mother to hold the child's hand, the legal responsibility is on the driver in the parking lot to drive at a speed where they can stop almost instantly for anything. "

...including things he can not see? How easy do you think it is to spot a, what, 40 cm tall 1 year old stumbling around in the parking lot?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@tmarie...you often can't see kids because of their height, no amount of checking and slowing down will help.

@WilliB...including things he can not see? How easy do you think it is to spot a, what, 40 cm tall 1 year old stumbling around in the parking lot?

I guess all I can say is save it for the judge, but I don't think you will like the answer you are going to get.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Which is my point - this isn't the drivers fault if they were following the laws and mom wasn't taking care of her kid. Well aware of how the laws work here and I don't agree with them. Which is why when I see kids running around in car parks, they get yelled at and so does do their care givers.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@tmarie

Well aware of how the laws work here and I don't agree with them.

Thats fine, but to be honest there is very little about the current law that one can really disagree with. The law simply says that that you owe a duty of care to other road users and you must take reasonable steps to avoid causing them foreseeable harm and danger. If this woman driver took reasonable steps, or the harm to the girl was unforeseeable, then she will have done nothing culpable.

Someone playing frisbee in a park owes the same duty to other patrons of the park. If you want to engage in a dangerous activity such as driving (or playing frisbee), you have to be ready to fulfill the duties that come with that activity even if they are cumbersome and inconvienient. I don't see what a change in the law would possibly look like.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is plenty one can disagree with when it comes to the current laws - you'll notice that many of the posters above clearly disagree that the driver takes full responsibilty. However, that IS that law. One doesn't have to like it though. Driver = one who is responsible is silly and clearly does not work in cases like this when there are other factors to take into account.

No one is suggesting one isn't or doesn't want to " fulfill the duties that come with that activity even if they are cumbersome and inconvienient". A change in the law would be to hold parents/child minders more responsible in accidents such as these when a driver really could do nothing else to prevent what has happened. The parent/minder on the other hand could have. Had that child been picked up or had their hand held, they'd probably be alive right now. Blamely the driver only is insane and one reason why I hate driving in this country.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

A change in the law would be to hold parents/child minders more responsible in accidents such as these when a driver really could do nothing else to prevent what has happened.

If in fact the the driver could have done nothing to prevent the accident, they would not be culpable in any event so no change in the law is really required.

The problem with finding contributory negligence on the part of the mother (but maybe not a professional minder) when it concerns such a young child is that the little girl doesn't have a choice about whether she gets a careful or a careless mother. Imagine if the girl had been hit and survived, she may have had significant medical costs for the rest of her life. Would you say to the little girl 'yes the driver was grossly negligent and failed to take reasonable care but your mommy also could have done something which 'might' have mitigated the results of the driver's negligence, therefore you only get half of your medical costs paid for'. Its totally perverse and highly speculative.

Also, I'm not suggesting the drive goes to jail, just that their insurance company pick up the tab for an accident if the driver could have prevented it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If in fact the the driver could have done nothing to prevent the accident, they would not be culpable in any event so no change in the law is really required.

That is 100% incorrect and for someone suggesting they know all about the police and accidents in this country, I suggest you ask around at how many drivers have been fined or held at fault for things they have no power or control over. i've seen it myself. DRiver is ALWAYS at fault. Even when realistically, they are not.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I understand what you are saying. Out of all the drivers that I know who have been blamed for causing accidents, none of them were actually at fault. (or so they tell me).

I would just ask you to think about this, imagine we had been in the back seat of this woman's car:

I say to her "oh, be careful for children running around the parking lot when you pull out, there have been many accidents recently where the driver wasn't able to see the small child"

You also say to her "yes, and there are many careless mothers who don't take care of their children, so be careful"

Do you think those words would have affected her thinking so much so that this accident would not have happened? (of course we can't say for sure) but If the answer to that question is probably yes, then I would ask you why the driver should not be held responsible in this case and why we can't all say those words to ourselves each time we pull out of a parking lot.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've witnessed accidents were the driver gets blamed and it has 100% not been their fault - stationary cars getting hit and being held responsible. If this ever happens to you, I think you will change your tune.

This child would probably be alive if a) it was being held and b) mom was holding her hand. Good luck driving and I hope you are never caught up in the same situation as this driver.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I guess we probably won't be changing our minds for now. But thank you for the discussion. Also, Goodluck and safe driving (and walking back to your car) to you as well. I also hope you never find yourself in a situation like the driver and I hope you never get hit by a negligent driver.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Same to you!! Wouldn't wish this kind of thing on anyone.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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