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8 year-old boy drowns in Lake Biwa

24 Comments

An 8-year-old boy drowned Sunday after he fell into Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture.

According to police, Aiji Nono and his family had come from Osaka to spend the day swimming at Lake Biwa, Sankei Shimbun reported. At around 3 p.m., the boy went missing after his parents diverted their eyes from him for a few minutes.

Nono's mother notified a police officer patrolling the area. Divers found the boy approximately 10 meters from the shore two meters below the surface. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

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24 Comments
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Again...

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

So sad. That's all it takes though. Take your eyes away for a moment and a precious person can be taken from you.

The boy should be at an age where he is taking swim classes at school now. Then again all the practice and warnings in the world can be forgotten in a moment of fear and confusion.

5 ( +5 / -1 )

Another preventable tragedy.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

My heart goes out to the family. At the same time I am utterly shocked and how badly the majority of Japanese people are at swimming in lakes or oceans. Maybe it's because the majority of them swim in pools with no waves or currents but once they get into anything over their shoulders it's bad, really bad.

4 ( +6 / -3 )

I feel something's missing from this story. The family went swimming at Lake Biwa. That means to me they should all know how to swim. And the poor boy was found only 30 feet from shore, six feet down. I know a person can drown in their bathtub, but...still, something's odd here. That said, I feel for the family. It's always a tragedy to lose a child.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

For an Island country, it is amazing how few of them can swim. I even know of surfers that cannot swim. That is crazy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The boy should be at an age where he is taking swim classes at school now.

None of the elementary school swimming pools have deep ends.

The deepest you'll usually find are pools that are 1.5 meters deep.

Basically, this means no practice wading in water deeper than your body.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A large body of water and you take your eyed off your 8 year old son. I have a 12 year old son and we have a swimming pool in our yard and we refuse to take our eyes off of him even though he is a good swimmer, anything can happen in water a cramp etc... So sad!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

For an Island country, it is amazing how few of them can swim. I even know of surfers that cannot swim. That is crazy.

Good point JapanGal. 8 years old & cannot swim, is this the norm?

According to police, Aiji Nono and his family had come from Osaka to spend the day swimming at Lake Biwa,

You'd think if they came for a day of "swimming" that they at least know how to "swim." If not, the poor boy should've used an uki. That is crazier.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

People seem quick to generalize. A quick search suggests Japan has a low rate of death by drowning among children (0-14). Less than the USA, Australia and New Zealand. (But it has a very high rate among the elderly.) But it's perhaps difficult to interpret such data. The UK has a low rate among all age groups, but that may be because relatively few go swimming except in swimming pools.

and we refuse to take our eyes off of him

Easy to say, but any parent of more than one kid knows that you often have to take your eyes off one kid to respond to the other. There's not enough information in the article to make a judgement.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think we have more drownings in southern california alone than Japan has in an entire season. In just my local area (within a mile of here) we have had 4 since May - a 9 month old and a 4 year old in private pools, and 2 in public pools. In the sad case of the baby, the family dog was also found in the pool trying to pull him out :(

The public pool drownings are happening because - unbelievably - there is a rule here that you are NOT allowed to wear life jackets!!! The lifeguards claim it stops parents watching carefully enough! But in EVERY drowning case in the last 5 years a) lifeguards have been present and b) the child has not been wearing a life jacket.

My son is 9 and can swim, but Id be lying if I said I was eyes-on the whole time because I also have to watch/help two others that CANT swim. Its terrifying, and every time I go when I lose sight of him I am frantically hunting for him for a few seconds until I spot him again. I would rather not go to the pool at all it is just too stressful! But try telling 3 kids being raised in california they can't hit the pool in summertime!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Nathalie

Can't kids at least wear inflatable armbands?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

think we have more drownings in southern california alone than Japan has in an entire season. In just my local area (within a mile of here) we have had 4 since May - a 9 month old and a 4 year old in private pools, and 2 in public pools. In the sad case of the baby, the family dog was also found in the pool trying to pull him out :(

Y'know, forming opinion based on anectodotal evidence is not a very good way to do it. In fact, there is data on this kind of thing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A quick search suggests Japan has a low rate of death by drowning among children (0-14). Less than the USA, Australia and New Zealand. (But it has a very high rate among the elderly.)

For the elderly, it's generally bath drownings.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Horrible way to go..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

this is one incident and suddenly all of japan has a problem with swimmers? yeah, that makes sense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Lake Biwa looks lovely, but she is notorious for sudden updraughts of freezing water from those scary depths.

Please treat her with maximum respect and pass the word everyone!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If one of the parents had been in the water with the boy it wouldn't have happened.My wife,7 year old daughter and I went to the beach last Sunday and we took turns being in the water with our child or all three together.The parents probably thought it was mendoukusai but look what happened as a result of that.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

For an Island country, it is amazing how few of them can swim. I even know of surfers that cannot swim. That is crazy.

Agreed

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

lucabrasi - no! In fact just yesterday my 9 year old was playing with some in the pool (he can swim but for some reason he had brought them along, I guess just to mess around with) and the lifeguard came over and told him to take them off!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Biwako is a fresh water lake. Buoyancy is difficult and less than 1 metre down it is very cold. Osaka, Nara and Kyoto people go there, recklessly race their jet skis, throw their rubbish in the beautiful nature and get drunk with no regard for locals. Of course such a sad thing will happen. I praise the rescuers. I don't believe it was local police who helped, but the fire service. They have such a hard job. I have seen them training. Could you imagine your job is to find the body of dead children? They are unspoken heroes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Y'know, forming opinion based on anectodotal evidence is not a very good way to do it. In fact, there is data on this kind of thing.

Everybody forms opinions all the time based on anecdotal evidence. Because thats what it is. An opinion. Rightly or wrongly. Thats why I started my sentence with "I think". If I had looked up the data - which I didn't have the time or inclination to do - I would have started my sentence with "It is a fact that..."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is weird. If they were all swimming there, how could he "fall in"?

Quote: "An 8-year-old boy drowned Sunday after he fell into Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whatever the drowning statistics in Japan vs. the rest of the world are there is clearly a problem, as stated by some posters above, where both kids and adults who have learned to swim (and are used to swimming) in Japanese pools without deep ends get in trouble when they swim in lakes, rivers, and the ocean. Whether that is what happened in this case is unclear but it happens regularly every summer, and this year unfortunately will be no different.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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