4 killed in Tokyo expressway accident


Four men were killed and two others injured after a minivan in which they were traveling was crushed between a trailer and a truck on an expressway in Tokyo's Koto Ward on Wednesday. According to police, all six -- five men and one woman -- were customs inspectors on their way from Narita to Haneda airport.

The accident occurred at around 2:25 p.m. when the station wagon was hit from behind by a truck being driven by a 70-year-old man, TBS reported. It then collided with the trailer in front, causing extensive damage to the vehicle, killing four of the men, police said.

The driver of the truck, who has been named as Takeshi Kanazawa, was quoted by police as saying he wasn't paying proper attention to the road ahead.

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Lives shattered and extinguished because an old man driving a flatbed truck (with a small truck loaded on the back) isn't paying attention....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

...wasn’t paying proper attention to the road ahead.

Um...So he wasnt looking through the windshield? What was his head under the dashboard?

His reason sounds like he is hiding something. Like he was on his cell or something illegal.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Probabaly was asleep... why 70year olds can still drive is beyond me

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Why can't 70 year olds drive? As long as they are able they should be allowed. Like saying 30 year olds can't drive because some myopic loser aged 30 has an accident. Shame on you!

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Yet more victims of social complacency. When will the madness end?



1 ( +4 / -3 )

The scene looked horrific.

I am sick and tired of j cops not clamping down on this crap. Between kids bouncing around, people on their phones, reading, women fixing their make-up...

I stopped at a light yesterday looked over and a truck driver was reading a porn mag. I wanted to get my phone and take a pic and send it to the company but the light changed before I had a chance. Cop, clamp down on this crap!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

High speed and a really crazy need to tailgate while checking your emails on your cell phone will eventually get someone killed.

Rest in peace, poor, unfortunate people.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Alex Einz:

why 70year olds can still drive is beyond me

I think insurance companies are more concerned about young male drivers aged 18-25. Your comment is pure ageism based on the actions of one bad driver. There is a percentage of lousy drivers in every age, gender, ethnic and socioeconomic group.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Nothing will change. Change is a concept that simply isn't understood.

RIP innocent men.

ALL Drivers should be thoroughly tested ANNUALLY once they reach 60 in order to re-qualify for a license (eyesight, hearing, strength, reaction speed AND Observational Awareness). I know you're all stubborn old dogs, but your abilities fad slowly overtime and you probably don't even notice what a danger you've become....

Better to get tested annually rather than killing people through stubborn pride/defiance. But like I said, nothing will change...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Insurance premiums should be raised for every traffic infraction or speeding ticket.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

saying he wasn’t paying proper attention to the road ahead.

Let me guess, reading a newspaper. I see many truck drivers with newspapers or manga mags draped over their steering wheels while they are driving.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Alex Einz,

I'm with you. 70 years and driving a truck. Knowing how old boys here consider themselves capable of everything I would not be surprised by a little speeding, a little smoking, a little tailgating, oh and did I mention he was OLD?!

70 years is a pretty high age for driving and I think we can all agree that reflexes are NOT like that of a 20-30 year old person. And "not paying attention"? What does that translate to? I was doing stuff I shouldn't have done while driving.

tmarie has a good point, kids flying around in the fron seat (no belt in sight), people watching F'in TV (?!!) while driving, pets on the dashboard. The police could do some good there - helping these people to grow the hell up.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

ALL Drivers should be thoroughly tested ANNUALLY once they reach 60

And all drivers should be tested monthly until they reach the age of 25. Hang the expense and the time and the red tape. Never mind the statistical evidence. Let's just test everyone every day.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I don't think the driver being 70 has anything to do with it. Why can't a 70-year old drive?! What if it was a 30-something year old? Or a 20 or 40 something? Is it okay if he was 69?

He said he wasn't paying proper attention. It doesn't have to be he was reading a newspaper or on his phone. Maybe he was simply busy picking his nose. Who knows what the reason is. I'm not defending him but it was an accident and he will pay for it forever for the rest of his life.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

...for the rest of his life

So about 10-15 years then. The dead people had no chance to enjoy the rest of their lives thanks to this clown. You say your NOT defending him but... But what. If you have spent any considerable time in Japan you know how bad truck drivers handle their heavy vehicles. Narrow roads? No problem, 70km/h is ok! Traffic in front? No problem, just keep your front bumper as close to the car in front of you as possible.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If he dies at 80 or 85, then, yes, he'll only pay for it for 10 - 15 years. I'm just saying I don't think it's fair to say that a 70-year old can't drive a truck.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

They were probably driving one those yellow plate tin cans. If the Japanese would raise the safety standards of thier vehicles, you wouldn't hear about these things as much. Japanese cars are death traps, especially those little kei cars.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

This was a horrible wreck when they showed the aerial footage on the news. At first I thought it was only a two vehicle accident because i couldn't see the third car in the middle. But when they went to a ground shot of the accident, I can see the true devastation. The vehicle was completely crushed and I can see that there was no hope for survivors. All I can say is R.I.P. to these poor victims.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Listen darknuts, just google 首都高4人死亡事故 and have a look at the car. They had no chance whatsoever, kei car or regular car.

It's got nothing to do with Japanese cars safety issues... Just an older driver not paying attention and robbing these people of their lives.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Something else that I just got from ANN is that there is no evidence that the truck braked before impact. He was going at full speed when he hit them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Darknuts: 5 people can't use a kei car. They only seat 4 at max.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Expressway in Kotoku? Might it be the raised one along... Eh Arakawa? I have been driving there. MANY big trucks, no distances between vehicles and (need I say this) high speeds. Didn't feel like the ideal traffic situation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Readers, it was a minivan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I say this over and over. Here in Japan prevention isn't carried out. Simply said, no one makes money out of preventing accidents. Much more money is to be made once and accident occurs. Be it people killed or injured, and then of course the property damage. According to the way the Japanese think, accidents stimulate the economy. Sorry but that's how I feel. Traffic enforcement does not exist. No money to be had. In other countries you are cited for something as simple as a tail light burnt out. Here it doesn't matter, but when an accident happens, that's when they look over thing which explains why no matter how and accident happens (except for rear ends), both parties (or all depending on how many are involved) are always at fault.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A lot of the accidents in Japan could be avoided if a way could be found to prevent the absolutely ubiquitous tailgating.

Even the relatively few drivers who do open sufficient space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them find that some moron will zip right into the opened space, pointlessly but inevitably. Since driver training doesn't seem to be doing the prevention job properly, I can only hope for better enforcement.

In over 40 years of driving here, though, I've never seen or heard of anyone being stopped/ticketed for tailgating.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

prevent the absolutely ubiquitous tailgating

When someone tailgates me, I turn on my hazard lights and then gradually slow down to a safe speed for the idiot's following distance. I then speed up again and pull away. I repeat the process until the fool gets the message. I'd rather deal with road rage than a rear-end collision.

Of course, there's not much you can do if you're in a stationary or slow-moving line of vehicles and another vehicle slams into you from behind.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ peace warrior and spudman

I was using the kei car as an example of an unsafe vehicle for high speed and low speed accidents. I know they were driving a minivan. The devastation of the car only proves my point that the car was unsafe to begin with. Minivans in this country are very small and fragile. I saw one get knocked on its side by a full size van going no faster than 20 kph a few weeks ago. There is a reason it's so hard to ship Japanese cars to the states. It's because the safety features are so lacking that you have to spend thousands of dollars to make your car stateside ready. Roof beams, door beams, shatter proof wind shields to say the least. They really should address the issue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


When someone tailgates you the safe and courteous thing to do is to get out of the way. People tail gate when they want to pass you. Just change lanes and let them pass. Slowing down on someone is tailgating only greatens the chance of a rear collision.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If you think 70 is no problem to drive big rigs etc..10-4 little buddy, you are too old! RIP poor innocent Narita customs officials.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As a few have mentioned keystones simply ARE NOT into accident prevention, they sit back wait for accidents to occur, thed proceed to the scene, result is we have roads full of bad driving behavior, add in many seem to think they are in a video game & I am suprised a whole lot more accidents occur.........

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Alan Doing that in Germany will get you a ticket. Fight the urge to teach them a lesson and get out of the way. 1 reckless driver is better than 2.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

darknuts and SanshinMaster:

People tail gate when they want to pass you

No. Tailgaters tailgate because they are aggressive morons, and often they are also into weaving between lanes, so even if you move over they are quite likely to follow you, since they don't have enough brain cells to register your lane change indications. If another lane is available of course I get out of their way. I'd rather have them in front than behind. But sometimes there is only one lane or it isn't safe to pull over or change lanes. That's when the hazard lights go on.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There should be special rules for trucks and semis: their engines should have not enough horsepower to speed beyond 60km/h. So many traffic accidents involving one truck/one driver that kills everybody else in the other car. Something should be done.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There should be special rules for trucks and semis

There are now computers and mobile phones with cameras that monitor your eyes and react to eye movements. Surely it should be possible to have a camera like that mounted on the rear view mirror to monitor the driver's eyes and sound an alarm if he closes his eyes or takes them off the road ahead for more than a few seconds. Proximity sensors should also be compulsory for heavy vehicles.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So, he washt paying proper attention to the road ahead...probably watching tv mounted on top of his steering wheel...reading manga smoking a cigarett and texting at the same time...please dont question my cynicism...I see it all the time! now 4 people are dead, that`s 4 families torn apart by this persons incompetence ....70 year old driving a truck??? My sympathies to these families such an avoidable tragedy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Such a tragic accident. My condolences for the families.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I stand by what I say, anyone over 65 is old by definition, its the way human body is. I dont say they should be all restricted but controlled and tested regularly and limited to low speed vehicles - definitely not huge tracks.

Need I remind how many old drivers killed people by mistaking brakes ?

In addition old people have less to loose so they care less about others naturally.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

In addition old people have less to loose so they care less about others naturally.

Well that's possibly the daftest statement ever posted on JT.

Although the driver in this case was elderly, most road fatalities are in fact caused by male drivers in their teens, 20s, 30s and 40s. When older drivers have accidents, the media tend to focus on their age to the exclusion of all else. However, I believe that the driver's age is quoted in this story simply because it's a translation from a Japanese news item, and it's the custom in Japan always to give the ages of everyone involved. Nowhere is there any suggestion that age-related impairment was a factor. The only cause mentioned was inattention.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

NEVER drive between 2 huge trucks, especially between these fools who are always in a hurry to get from point A to point B! It is not worth your life nor that of your family and friends. I am always surprised to see clueless drivers going just a few feet from the huge truck behind them and the other in front at break neck speeds, at night, no lights, in the rain, just death/misery waiting to happen when the truck in front of you slams on their brakes and the idiot oyaji or XYZ idiot behind you has not even paid attention that you are slowing down or braking so you get SMASHED to death or wishing you had died between 2 huge trucks. But anyway, RIP folk from the Narita Customs

1 ( +1 / -0 )

While old people have slow reflexes, I don't think this in an age issue. I have been commuting on the highway for the last decade and the most likely cause here is tailgating at high speeds...and that's something that all guys do. Yes, it's almost exclusively guys I see doing this, whether they be 70 or 27. The old guy was driving too close and was busy reading a manga or something and slammed into them. And while tragic, I'd bet my bottom dollar that the person driving the car was traveling at an unsafe distance and speed from the trailer truck in front of him.

In all my years driving in Japan, I see the police pulling over cars...never trucks (which cause a disproportionately large number of accidents because they are typically driven aggresively by the most knuckle dragging mouth breathers in the country). And more importantly, I never see the cops stop people for the most dangerous of behavior, which is tailgating and rapid lane changing. They always aim for the speeders. No matter how fast these guys were going, if there had been ample distance between the three vehicles, this would not have ended so tragically.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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