21 year-old woman in coma after building sign falls on her


A 21-year-old woman remained in a coma Monday after she was hit by a piece of a sign that fell from a building above and came crashing down upon her in Sapporo on Sunday.

According to police, Narumi Sugawara was walking along a sidewalk just before 2 p.m. when the incident occurred. TV Asahi reported that the sign, which had been attached to the Kani Honke restaurant, knocked the woman unconscious, fracturing her skull.

Police said that on Sunday morning, other portions of the sign had broken off, but no safety precautions were taken to ensure the safety of pedestrians. Sapporo experience strong winds on Sunday.

The four metal bolts that had been holding the sign had become corroded, officials said.

Sugawara had been on her way to a job interview scheduled when the accident occurred.

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Sign pollution in Japan is cronic and many of the signs have been up for decades with no maintenance. Obviously, this was one them. As much as the sign owner is respect noble, the local council should also be held respect noble for failing to ensure the signage was safe. I worked in signs and advertising in Australia for twenty years before coming to Japan and was shocked to see the extent of signage and the poor quality of construction of many of the signs. I'm actually quite surprised these kinds of accidents don't happen more often. I hope this woman recovers and sues the pants off the owner and the local council.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

It's amazing that someone can just leave a sign hanging over a sidewalk until it corrodes away when everyone else has to spend a small fortune having their cars inspected every 2-3 years.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Exactly M3M3M3, exactly.

This is called screw people up for the sake of business, and in Japan they are so good at it...

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The problem is that probably everyone is going to shirk the blame. If the sign belongs to a still running business then there's a chance they will be held responsible, but pretty much anywhere you go you can see old signs for places that have long since ceased to exist that are held up by such corroded bolts or inside corroded frames, etc. While I agree 100% with Disillusioned there is no way the city would be held responsible, even though they should be in part. In any case, also like Disillusioned I hope she recovers and sues the pants off various entities not only for negligence and damages, but also for a missed opportunity as I'm pretty sure she won't have yet gotten the job she couldn't interview for because of the sign.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Nothing will happen except obfuscation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Very sad

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Having been hit by a piece of a falling sign from a building above?! She seems to have knocked up against something hard. Although she is now in very critical condition, hopefully she will come back to consciousness one way or the other and get back on her feet again.

Needless to say, I am always paying attention to falling objects from above, it's no longer someone else's affair.

Given the poor maintenance of the existing signboards and such, I might be the next.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Shocking. Japan suffers from high winds frequently and sign maintenance is a must.

Head traumas are life-changings and can lead to grave consequences. I pray for her full recovery. Getting compensated later may not recover the quality of her life.

I will be more careful when going out in high winds.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm a contractor and from time to time I do these kinds of jobs. The problem with many sings are these: Lack of supervision, non corrosion resistant bolts, Small bolts that wont withstand years of use and maybe some bolts werent installed properly.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan really hasn't updated their derelict building codes. As others have posted, there are areas where(mostly the older sections of cities where there are multiple old buildings, with signs that are rusting in place. I have seen that since I have been here, and nothing changes. Really need to have someone do something. Same thing with abandoned/crumbling buildings. Just not safe nor sanitary

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Terrible fate. If only that interview coulda be scheduled on Mon. morning instead. Never-ever-ever-ever heard of a job interview on a Sunday.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If the sign belongs to a still running business...

it may offer a well published gesture in the form of a 'job'. If and when she returns to her senses ... lets hope they are in well enough order to turn it down and postulate a few remedies of her own.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I bet she is braindead. Life in Japan is not that valued when it is about "fate", in fact when you cannot blame directly someone else than the community. In other civilized country, the building owner is responsible, and if there is none, the city mayor because there shall be building control inspection periodically, whatever type of structural items re concerned. I notice here many abandoned buildings, in particular woodwen semi-detached houses, ready to ignite and kill. I know what I am talking about as I a am building fire safety specialist among skills. Too sad to see "fate" lead the (soon) future of many buildings. Absence of law in that domain is blatant, although slowly developing. I will pay more attention myself with such types of building parts. Too young to die. RIP

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In Hong Kong, there are thousands of old style box air conditioners hanging off the windows off of the many high-rise apartments. The residents of these apartments are 100% responsible for making sure they don't fall and crush pedestrians walking below. There are multiple notices posted reminding people to check their air conditioning units regularly. This is the second time recently that I've read about an accident due to negligence due to construction oversights. (The other article was about another young woman who walked out of a door that was several stories up and opened to the outside of the building and fell to her death) Like Hong Kong, Japan should make clear to everyone whose responsibility it is before these accidents happen. 21 years old and in a coma. Poor girl.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Jonathon Prin Although I share your concern for this unfortunate young woman, your RIP is premature. As of noon Tuesday she is still alive.

This building owner was given a warning in December for failing to submit the required report of annual inspection of the signs. Then on Sunday they did nothing when parts fell off two hours before this accident. Unforgivable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Regardless of the reason, the fact is this girl who is only 21 is seriously injured and we should pray for her recovery. Anyone who still believes in prayer, please pray for her. I don't belong to any religion but really suggest as many people pray for her as possible. The authorities should investigate and also hold responsible the person who did not maintain the sign .. but first, this girl needs care. I really hope she will be able to recover. I really Narumi and Her Family to be ok.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How very sad. I noticed when visiting Hokkaido that there are many areas in need of repair, mostly due to the extreme temperatures. Surely, a continued cycle of ice, snow, freezing, melting, winds, causing rust, expansion, contraction would lead to strict rules about things attached above walking people below. Things fall. Like so many things, it is only after someone is injured that things get fixed. I suppose Chicago is in a similar climate. Wonder if they inspect old signs. (Wasn't someone in a high rise in Tokyo tossing computers out his window recenlty)?

We had NTT come and drill for a huge electric pole at the BOTTOM of neighborhood sidewalk. They were really going to put that in, forcing us to slide into it on an icy day, or having to go into the street and risk being hit by a car to get around the pole! We put notices of potential death in a basket for them to read! An NTT man came and read the notes to his supervisor..... and voila! NO pole was put in!

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is still a relevant adage.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does anyone know the Status of Narumi ? Has the news reported about her current condition? Hope she will come out of her coma and recover …

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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