3 children drown in pond in Hyogo


Three boys drowned while playing in a pond in Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture, on Sunday afternoon, police said. The three boys were aged 9, 7, and 7.

According to police officials, at around 2:20 p.m., a 6-year-old boy turned up at a police box and said that three boys he was playing with had disappeared in nearby Nonoike pond. Police and firefighters searched the pond and found the missing boys about 90 minutes later. They were taken to hospital where they were pronounced dead.

Local residents said the pond is a popular spot for children to play because it has many turtles, shrimp and other creatures. The 750-meter perimeter is surrounded by a 1 1/2-meter-high fence, but locals said that children often climb over it.

© Compiled from news reports

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on this morning`s news i also saw a sign posted next to the pond that said the pond was dangerous.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a terrible and sad story. The police must now look into why the children were in that area unsupervised and if the pond was too easy to access. I hope that we don't hear that the mothers were not doing their duty of care. They will of course be devastated but i hope the police will look into the matter and press charges if the parents or those who own the pond were negligent in any way.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Unfortunately, fences will never keep children away from a pond, especially on a hot day. I wonder what caused them to drown. Do ponds have eddies?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As the father of a young boy, this is heartbreaking. Prayers and condolences to their families.

I'm sure we'll now see a higher fence or harder access to the pond go up - unfortunately too little too late.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The lives of these families have changed from this day forever. My deepest sympathy goes out to them in their time of grief.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tragic... I know, as the father of an active 9-year-old boy, other than tying him down at home do you prevent him from "being a boy." If we had a pond like this around, I could expect to find him there.

RIP boys...and may you find many cool ponds where you go.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The parents of this six year old get credit for teaching him to be responsible. It is a shame but I was out running around at seven with my friends alone. Kids think they are stronger than they are or just don't know the dangers unless people teach them. I assume that they went swimming, one kid got in trouble, one went to help and took him under, repeat for the third. Drowning people panic and will take down whomever tried to help them.


0 ( +1 / -1 )

This happened on a Sunday afternoon. I would presume that most of the childrens parents were off work at the time. On a day when the family should be together we have these kids playing ina dangerous area without any supervision. The pond was known to be dangerous, so it should have been made impossible for children to enter. The parents should make sure their kids were warned about the dangers. The fact that a group of kids were all out unsupervised shows a lack of parenting skills among the parents in the area. Both matters must be addressed by the authorities as a matter of priority.

Modern society and lack of parental responsibility gives us the problem of feral kids and make a childs life in danger because of this. Let us hope this will bring new laws in making parents more resonsible for their children and prevent further deaths.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

this news is rather incomplete. Other media are reporting they were swimming. they tried to swim to the centre of the pond and upon returning they got tired and found they couldn't touch the bottom anymore as it is very shallow on the edges but not so in the middle. The six year old apparently chickened out of the swim, one of the older boys was his brother. Poor kid, smart enough to avoid a Darwinian death but now haunted by watching his bro and two mates die. Sad story all round. A nine year old me would have tried the exact same thing. That is the essence of adventurous boys. Some times bravado backfires horribly.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The fact that a group of kids were all out unsupervised shows a lack of parenting skills among the parents in the area.

Steve, come back and tell us about that when you have experience of supervising a healthy 9-year-old 24/7.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

cleo; Been there and did successfully without the child being harmed or killed.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I've never really thought of ponds as being dangerous myself. They are for swimming in, no?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It was a 'tameike', perhaps better translated as reservoir.

A big thing, picture here: newsarticle/event/accident/516012/slideshow/420689/

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The police must now look into why the children were in that area unsupervised and if the pond was too easy to access.

They were unsupervised because they were 7 and 9 years old... we're not talking about toddlers here. I don't know of any 9 year olds whose parents supervise them 24/7 - and if they did I'd feel sorry for kids. This is a sad tragedy, yes, but I wouldn't be so quick to blame the parents.

The pond could be surrounded by a 10 metre electric fence, but trust me, inquisitive kids will find a way to get into just about anywhere.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

3 dead in a pond? It is tragic. How, why? The. Story is missing something....detail. 3 children dead. Gutted

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Apparently there are perfect parents who know where their kids are at all times and exactly what they are doing.

Me, I have trouble keeping up my 3 year old. The 14 year old makes guest appearances on weekdays - where he is on the weekends is usually a mystery. My wife and I assume he is in the same country as us but couldn't guaranteee it.

Anyway, poor kids. Poor parents too, they will be going through all kinds of torment.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There was a story on a morning program not long ago about a smart,good samaritan mother who had drown-proofed her local pond by lining the circumference with 2 litre pet bottles anchored fall in the grab a bottle.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yep, pretty its big reservoir - would have been quite a swim for a kid. One can why the got into trouble.

(aitch tee tee ppe ://

no doubt their Elementary school will have a solemn assembly today.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This could have all been prevented with a few swimming lessons. Backstroke, specifically. Doesn't take long to learn. I guess swimming, or learning to swim isn't all that popular in Japan. I doubt it was the kids first time at that pond, and I suppose their parents knew they went in the water occasionally. I know I'll catch heat from all the parents here, but if you have kids that you know go into dangerous situations, it's your job to either dissuade them not to, or to teach them skills to make the situation less dangerous.

But that poor six year old is going to remember that long walk to the police box for the rest of his life. Horrible thing to experience.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

gaijinfo - This could have all been prevented with a few swimming lessons.

And, you know this how? I agree that all children should be taught to swim from a very young age, but there is nothing in this article to suggest that knowing how to swim would have saved the lives of these kids. It is both saddening and worrying that in an island country learning to swim is not a priority. I was a life saver in oz for many years and got sick of pulling Japanese tourists out of the drink cos they couldn't swim. Why they were in the surf in the first place still boggles me. Learning to swim is a mandatory part of primary school curriculum in Australia.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gaijinfo -No heat from me. I'm the parent of a 2 and 5 year old and I completely agree with your entire last post. Both my kids are in swimming courses. There is only so much you can do to prepare your kids for what life may have in store for them, but the more you offer, the better their chances are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

gaijininfo: Please read Carcharodon's post above.

Disillusioned: What gives? You say that knowing how to swim may not have saved the lives of these kids, but then you go on to complain about how many Japanese tourists' lives you saved and how Japan should be more like Australia and learn how swim???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if you have kids TEACH THEM TO SWIM

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just a fence? What about all the cement? This article needs more info.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Tahoochi - I said there is nothing in this article to show that knowing how to swim would have saved these kids, and there isn't. They may have been tangled in weeds.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

V sad, but I agree with many posters, that you can prepare your kids as best as possible for lifes challenges, but at ages 7 and 9, it is really impossible to be able to monitor them 24/7 and at some point you have to surrender yourselves to the mercy of their common sense - or lack thereof. It is the hardest thing in the world for a parent to do, and every child is different, but if you truly believe you have prepared them as well as you can, there is not much more you can do.

Sadly at this "transitional" age for dependancy on parents for everything to independance, tragedies can happen.

I am struggling desperately with my 5 year old at the moment on this very issue - his older sister is allowed a little more freedom, and he cannot understand why he cant have the same freedoms. Aside from the fact that he is still only 5, his personality is completely different and unlike his older sister he doesnt seem to have such an innate "common sense" - and as a consequence is constantly covered in bruises from jumping off high walls, going too fast on his bike, etc etc. I am praying that over the next couple of years before I "release" him completely he learns a little more common sense, or at the very least a sense of self-preservation, because at the moment he is a prime Darwin award candidate and it scares the hell out of me!

RIP little boys and my heart goes out to your families.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

ALL, and I repeat ALL children learn how to swim in Japan; it is part of the basic education mandated by law. Every elementary school and junior high school has a swimming pool.

These "ponds" are part of flood control and have very steep cement drop offs. If a kid slips in I can certainly imagine them having a hard time getting out. All of these ponds are protected by fences but as is usual in Japan after something is built there is absolutely no maintenance so most fences around ponds and reservoirs have holes through them or placed where people can just walk around. I am guessing that in this case the barbed wire strands at the top of the fence rusted away years ago and nobody has thought they needed to be replaced.

Society can mitigate danger but not eliminate it unless people lock their children in the closet.

Forget about Australia, a whopping 25% of their children are, to be blunt, fat. Anyway about 30 children under 5 die every year in Australia in preventable drowning accidents mostly in swimming pools and mostly because parents were too lazy to keep their eyes open. A similar rate in Japan would mean that 180 Japanese children would die every year in preventable drowning accidents.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Creating a risk-free society is pie in the sky. Educating your children about risks is possible, though not easy. Don't just talk with your children about dangers; parents' words often sound like the "blah blah blah" soundtrack from Peanuts movies. Take them to places you know to be risky, show them what could happen if they do not take care, and explain how this could lead to their death. My kids are now 14 and 16, and I think the adventurous childhood I gave them has caused them to be more circumspect as adults.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The chity's name is Akashi, but not Akaishi, I think.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Laguna you're spot on

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A 7 year old should never be let out without their mother there to supervise them. Even 9 is too young. Anything else is just lazy parenting, and asking for trouble.

There is absolutely more that could have been done to prevent this - a mother could have gone out with them, kept her distanmce and not got involved unless someone had a silly idea, like getting in the pond. Children are not capable of making good decisions, their brains are not mature yet, and to give them the responsibility for their own safety is cruel, and potentially deadly.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

In Japan, a pond is a poem, enclose it with sturdy fences spoil its beauty, however at a time when children are driven outdoors because of the power saving campaign, maybe it's time to sacrifice beauty for safety.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Laguna, very good comment. Thats my style of teaching. Explaining why something is wrong and give/show examples. Kids are very smart. You just need to explain clearly of what could happen and how to save yourself if it does happen in dangerous circumstances.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Gwragged : You and steve@CPFC are one of the few parents that have time to be there 24/7 for their children. Lucky you. Sadly, the reality for most of us is to teach our children of the dangers of the world and hope they heed our words. I survived my pre-teens without my mother or father around until late at night. I didn't die, kill anyone, and I turned out a fine parent. And, yes, I was a risk taker..and have my scars to prove it! ...which is a great way prove to my boy that I know what I am talking about!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kids want adventures, of course but we have a duty to protect them when not in school. Whovere owns the pond has a responsibility to ensure it cannot be accessed by small children.The parents have a duty to ensure that their kids know of dangers and have adequate supervision.

This was on a Sunday afternoon, a time when it would be expected that the family should all be together partipating in activities. Where were the fathers to guide them about such matters,a nd what about the mothers who should know at all times where children of that age are. Children of this age shoudld always be supervised if there are dangerous places nearby, This is not playing football in the garden, this is playing away from home without supervision. This is an example why society has to return to ways of putting children first, tougher laws to ensure parental responsibilites are enforced and tough punishmenst for neglectful parents.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A 7 year old should never be let out without their mother there to supervise them. Even 9 is too young. Anything else is just lazy parenting, and asking for trouble.

Don`t know what bubble you live in, but here in Japan children walk to school by themselves (in groups but without an adult) from age 6. I was concerned about it once myself when my daughter first started school and I followed her group to school in her first week - and was accosted by someone on the street who thought I was stalking the children!!!

When you live in this society you need to adapt to the societal norms, and that includes allowing them - to a point - to do what their friends are doing. Obviously you have to make a judgement call (is this safe?) and I have refused her permission to go to a place her friends are going to in the past because I have not been comfortable with it. But it is give and take, and balance. That`s parenting.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

miamum;You do not have to adapt to societes norms in anyway you are not cmrfortable with. We have a society where we are ostracised for being different even if we can show we are right, Whatever the matter the care and safety of the child is paramount. Parenting is ensuring saftey and care at all times.

The children who walk to school are tought this and will not normally do otherwise, this is because they have been taught the dangers of not doing so. Obviously these children were not taught of the dangers of this pond or were unsupervised. Parenting is not give and take BTW, there is no balance, it is to give only and teh knowledge that you are giving love 24/7 is all you need to take from that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My mum taught me that " If everyone jumps of a cliff" you don't have to follow. Japan if everyone jumps off...follow This is a terrible disaster that could have been avoided thru shhhhhh. (education).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You do not have to adapt to societes norms in anyway you are not cmrfortable with.

Yessss, hence:

Obviously you have to make a judgement call

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Parenting is not give and take BTW,

Your style may not be, but mine, is, and it seems to be working brilliantly for us.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I live in Japan too, Mia's mum, but my children have never walked to school alone. I do what my mother did for me - wait in the car to pick her up, and drive her home. Admittedly we dont send them to the local school, but even if I did, she would not be walking alone, especially with the lack of sidewalks in my bit of Tokyo.

There is no way Ild allow her to walk to school, or take the train alone, just because everyone else does something in Japan does not mean I as a non Japanese have to follow suit. Il'd rather have the distain of a few people than my child getting run over/falling in a pond/snatched by some crazy/stabbed in the neck on the train, or how about if there is a big earthquake while they are unsupervised? Is it really worth risking all this, just to fit in with everyone else? I wouldn't do it where I come from, and I wont do it here either, and I dont think I am wrong.

I dont see how there is even a choice not to supervise children properly. Im not talking about teenagers, but young children should be treated like children and treasured, not thrown out to the wolves to defend themselves. If you dont have enough money and time, then you dont have a dog, let alone a child.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Good man Gwragged, in a society that lacks care, you are on to it! 10 points from me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well GWragged, your style works for you, and ours seems to work for us. We live a Japanese life in a non ex-pat environment, and my kids are Japanese and go to the local Japanese school. Therefore, they fit in with the norms of their environment. I make a judgement call on what is and is not acceptable, for example many of her friends are allowed to play unsupervised in local parks. I wont let her do that. But walking to school - yes she does, because all her friends do as well, and because as a Japanese she needs to fit in to her environment. I realise I dont have to adapt to anything I am uncomfortable with, but I also have to respect that my husband is Japanese and we are living a Japanese life - hence the balance I talk about.

It is not possible to create a perfect environment for children. I get nervous about her walking home sometimes, but I have made a judgement call based on the situation - the streets, amount of traffic, assistance crossing the road, etc etc.

I understand your point about the sidewalks - I know there are parts of Tokyo, particularly on the western side of town where streets are scarily narrow. We looked at moving over that way a few years ago and that was one of the factors against it.

But the point of all this is that - rightly or wrongly for us - these parents of these unfortunate boys also made a judgement call based on their culture, background and environment. Sadly, and with hindsight it was the wrong call. But these are not necessarily "bad" parents just because they dont follow our western norms, they are Japanese parents doing what Japanese parents do. Here it is normal for kids of this age to be out on their own. This is a tragedy and I feel for them. I also think there are many aspects of Japanese-style parenting that I am not comfortable with, but I am not going to condemn them for doing what they thought was right just because it doesnt sit with my norms.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You worry for a reason, Mia's mum, because you know full well that you are taking a gamble every time you let your children out alone unsupervised. You gamble that they wont get run over, that no nutter will hurt them, that they will make sensible and adult decisions at 6 years old. You gamble with their safety and their sense of security.

My husband is Japanese, but it is low income, poorly educated Japanese who do these things, Mia's mum. The mothers I know would never leave their kids unsupervised, they meet them at the school gate to take them to activities and juku, normal middle class Japanese put their kids on school buses, or drive to meet them. Their kids are studying after ballet or karate, and not out playing till all hours. My child is not Japanese, she is a citizen of the world and that is how we are raising her, as such she is comfortable in western and Japanese society, but we have no desire to raise sheeple.

Yes, the parents of these boys are ARE criminally bad and lazy parents, who dont supervise their children, bad risk taking parents, and these boys would have been alive if they had had good parents. It is not like they lost them in a shopping centre for a moment, they allowed these boys to go out alone with their blessing and this happened as a direct result of the laziness and sheer stupidty of their parents.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

it is low income, poorly educated Japanese who do these things... normal middle class Japanese put their kids on school buses, or drive to meet them

No, it's the norm. We do not live in a 'low income, poorly educated' neighbourhood, it's middle class and it's normal here for the kids to walk to school in groups. There are no school buses, though there are buses that take little kiddies to and from kindergarten. Driving kids to school in cars is frowned upon, it makes them (apparently) into Mama's boys and cissies.

Many's the time my kids would come home covered in mud because they'd been catching tadpoles in the rice fields on the way home. They wouldn't have been able to do that if I'd wrapped them in cotton wool and driven them to and from school. They had a great childhood. With no juku.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I feel for the kids who die because their parents didnt give enough of a damn to make sure they were safe, not Steve's kids who obviously have a very good caring and committed family on their side, nor mine who are well on the way to having a wonderful future - something these poor boys have been denied due to poor parenting.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

ALL, and I repeat ALL children learn how to swim in Japan No they don't. As a former swimming teacher I can't believe how they "teach" swimming here. Kids learn that the pool is never over their head and all they need to do it put a foot down. Kids can barely swim 25 meters here because... they can put their foot down. I have never seen a pool in Japan that has a "deep" end. Same depth the whole way. Head to the local pool and see how well the locals can swim. They can't. Water over their heads? They panic. I think this is one reason why the locals don't swim in the lakes, rivers and ponds here for the most part. They are scared of them because they don't know the depth."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

All readers back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess you do get what you pay for. Its so sad that children without parents who earn a decent income or a mind of their own have to have their health and wellbeing risked on a regular basis in some misguided attempt to be the same as the neighbors.

I find your comment offensive in the extreme. It woudl appear that moneymay buy a nice neighbourhood or school but cannot pay for basic manners and respect for other individuals.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

How can you claim that the parents didn't care? Do you know them? How can you claim that this is poor parenting? Heaven forbid accidents happen. You might want to step back a bit and look at your own kids. Bumps, scraps, bruises... can we turn around and blame you for it all? Kids are kids and you can't look after then 24/7. You can try and teach them to do the right thing but they won't always do what you tell them.

Well said Miamum!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

swimming in fresh water is much more tiring than salt water, and quickly saps the energy. the 6 year old responded so well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

swimming in fresh water is much more tiring than salt water, and quickly saps the energy

Is that true, yourock? Is that because the salt helps with buoyancy or something? It`s interesting to know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is "true" but honestly, unless you are swimming long distances (ie much more than what happened here and I would go for about 500m or more) it won't make a lick of a difference. It is due to buoyancy but you could counter argue that open water swimming with currents, waves, stronger wind... is much more difficult because it is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah, ok. It was always my impression that saltwater was harder because of currents and things, but to be honest I dont know a lot about swimming. My Dad was a fantastic swimmer (even represented his country at junior level) but sadly that was one gene that absolutely wasnt passed on!

Drownings do seem to happen very frequently in summertime here, but I dont really know how it compares to other places. We dont have so many in the UK, I guess because we don`t tend to swim outside so much - too cold!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I tend to think the rate is higher here because they don't do much in terms of water safety education. They also can't swim here regardless of what others may think. Kids here have a false sense of security and will go into water that is too deep for them, will try and swim too far and don't seem to know much about currents, rips, waves... Once they can't touch the bottom, they panic. The pools here are shallow and kids over about 10 can walk the entire length without it being over their head. When they get tired in a pool, they just put a foot down and are fine. You can't do that back home. I have never seen a pool here with a deep end let alone a diving board or platform. The difference back home is that kids who can't swim, don't try to. They know they can't so don't have that false sense of security that the pools/instructors instill in them here.

I train a few times a week at a pool and honestly, the locals are shockingly bad at swimming. As are their lifeguards, swimming instructors and water safety standards. A few other foreigners who swim here that I know also agree with me on that. I still have no idea how they managed to produce a few swimming champions here based on what I have seen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

DisillusionedJul. 04, 2011 - 12:10PM JST

Tahoochi - I said there is nothing in this article to show that knowing how to swim would have saved these kids, and there isn't. They may have been tangled in weeds.

...Or they may have been very good swimmers who went out too far and were too tired to make it back like Carcharodon mentioned in an earlier post (Jul. 04, 2011 - 08:17AM JST). I just don't get what the rest of your comment had to do with these 3 boys and this article.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

very Sad story. not sure why people are arguing here. several things caused it & could have prevented it True. im sure the parents are aready thinking of what could have been & have to live with this for their Life. & feel Guilty, BUT Yes people are right things like this should be avoided. it took a Tragedy for them to Build the Akashi kaikyo Bridge. its important to discuss Dangers with Kids & teach them how to swim. Every Elementary school should discuss this with the kids & make sure it doesn't happen again. Lets not argue BUT actually DO something & Teach kids to always becarefull.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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