Abe to honor woman who died saving man on rail crossing


The government decided at a cabinet meeting on Friday to honor a woman who died when she went onto a railway crossing to save an elderly man who had fallen down on the tracks.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that a letter of appreciation and a medal from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be presented to the family of Natsue Murata, 40, for her sacrifice in helping a 74-year-old man who had fallen on the railway crossing between Nakayama and Kamoi stations on the JR Yokohama line at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Witnesses said the man stumbled and fell on the tracks as he was walking on the crossing. After the barriers came down, Murata, who was waiting at the crossing in a car being driven by her father, got out of the car and rushed onto the tracks to help the man, even though her father told her there wasn't enough time. As she helped the man up, she was hit by an oncoming train.

Police said Murata died at the scene while the man was taken to hospital with head and back injuries. He has told police he doesn't remember anything about the accident, Fuji TV reported.

Suga said that Murata gave her life without any consideration for her own safety and said he hoped her selfless act would be etched in the people's hearts and minds, Fuji TV reported.

Suga will present the letter on Abe's behalf to Murata's family on Tuesday, since the prime minister will be in Bali attending the APEC summit.

The National Police Agency (NPA) said Friday that it, too, will present a letter of commendation to Murata's family.

Since the accident, there has been a steady stream of visitors leaving flowers at the site each day.

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Government intentions aside, hope this will ease the pain of the bereaved family.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

And what might those "government intentions" be, CJ?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )


For sensationalism.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Incredible courage and selflessness.

And counter to the argument that Japanese people never help strangers.

6 ( +10 / -3 )

Sensationalism, eh CJ? I see. Makes perfect sense. By honoring an heroic woman with more courage than you and I combined, the government is "sensationalizing" her death and act of pure goodness. And to what end, may I ask?

It's too bad that you've become so jaded. Cynicism, my friend, is a dead-end. It gets you no where.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

You do know the first rule of rescue.... don't become a victim. It was a heroic act but from the results, it doesn't seem worth it.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

She definitely deserves to be honored. The whole situation is just frustrating when you read about it. Unless the guy was lying there for quite some time he must have been trying to beat the barriers after hearing the train is approaching chimes, then he apparantly couldn't get up on his own (being 74, I guess, perhaps it can't be helped), then the train couldn't stop on time.

Brave woman.

ben4short: You can't deny the government is bilking this a bit. Why do they have to formally announce it? Why not just honor the woman and present a medal to the family, and let the media then report it? And why wait until now, after streams of people are going to the site to honor the woman? They could have done it days ago.

4 ( +11 / -6 )

Sorry, Smitty, don't buy the "bilking" argument for a sec. The accident happened on Tuesday morning and the cabinet meeting was Friday, so how could they have "done it days ago?" Even still, timeline aside, I ask again: to what end?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

There are rumors that the old man was trying to commit suicide. If the rumors are true, this woman would have given her life in vain

2 ( +4 / -3 )

She tried to save the man and not thinking she end her life, so sad, RIP

2 ( +3 / -1 )

J. government has been interpreted as cold like a cucumber by the world. I welcome a story like this as it is finally showing a warm face in humanity.

-3 ( +1 / -5 )

I feel so sorry for Natsue Murata's father, who saw his daughter killed right in front of him.

4 ( +4 / -0 )


true heroes do not check the odds first before acting, neither do they look at age, status, or infirmity. I have worked and walked with true heroes who would have done the same - do not sully her memory.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Ben4short: Abe could have honored the woman at any time without a cabinet, and again didn't need to announce such actions to the press. Buy it or not, you've been sold it.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )


The decision by the government is admirable and it is important to publicize it, so that citizens and people like me can say "That's a nice gesture." I'm sure many of those people placing flowers at the site would also be gratified to learn the woman's family will receive a letter from the PM.

The actual presentation itself will probably be done in private without media.

So no one is bilking anyone and no one has been sold anything, as you put it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Smitty, sure Abe could have handled this a number of ways. But he did what he did. So what's your point? Why do you and so many others always resort to knee-jerk sinister conspiracy theories and ulterior motives? Cynicism leads nowhere.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

If you believe this is not being used to enhance further a carefully crafted image/persona of Abe as a "kind, wise, moralistic" being, then good for you.

Others believe otherwise. Never have I witnessed in 2 decades a prime minister in Japan be presented in so many photo-ops, from helping Iran to holding hands with his wife. He has the best image consultants, advisers, management team in the business - bar none. Ever wondered why he has made so few blunders, avoided sticky situations - management! No jonnies pop-item is more diligently handled than Abe.

And if the govt was trule in it's intent - the admiration of a woman's great deed and we are not in this for the collateral - then why is it headline news?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

ben4short: "Smitty, sure Abe could have handled this a number of ways. But he did what he did. So what's your point?"

The point has been made by me and other posters, which you outright tried to counter, so you KNOW the point -- the government is bilking it. As said, the woman DESERVES the honor without question, but politicians don't deserve to get points for acting on it well after the fact and only after seeing all the attention it's getting. Your absolutely right Abe could have handled it in a number of ways -- he chose to wait for approval from a meeting. I would have had far more respect for his actions had he taken a moment during his many press releases on tax hikes etc. to honor the woman publicly. As it is I have far more respect for your average Joe visiting the site to offer flowers and offering consolation to the family without advertising that they're doing it.

0 ( +7 / -7 )


I'm don't speak for the government, so I wouldn't know their real intentions. What do you think their intentions are?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Ben4short: Abe could have honored the woman at any time without a cabinet, and again didn't need to announce such actions to the press. Buy it or not, you've been sold it.

Nope. She is receiving a Medal of Honour with Red Ribbon which is given out only twice a year. The candidates are submitted by a select few within the government and the final recommendation is submitted by the PM for Cabinet approval.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

There was a tweet that since what she did was illegal (crossing the gates when down) she should not be given the medal and that the government was exploiting this as much as possible.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I give the government credit for doing something the public obviously wants done. But as a PR moment, it hardly improves the deep deep hole they have dug for themselves on so many other much more important issues.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Moved pretty fast! A selfless action that deserves to be recognized. Shame the government does not move this fast on other matters.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Nigelboy: "She is receiving a Medal of Honour with Red Ribbon which is given out only twice a year."

That does not mean he himself, as PM or as a person, had to wait to honor her, does it? Nor does it mean it has to be made into the government declaring on the news what they are doing.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

That does not mean he himself, as PM or as a person, had to wait to honor her, does it? Nor does it mean it has to be made into the government declaring on the news what they are doing.

???? How do you know that he didn't offer a personal condolence to the family, verbally. You don't. Only when it's announced to the media is when people like you find out about it. Then, as usual, you moan about "bilking" when pretty much every leader in most all democratic nations publicize these kind of event. But when it comes to Japan, there's a "sinister" element according to you.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Readers, please stop bickering.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

B4S I totally agree with you. Abe rewarded the person who offered her life for someone needed help. That's what we need in this selfish and selfcentered planet.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I personally think having the PM formally announce it has everything to providing the woman, and her family with the highest honour and absolutely nothing to do with bilking.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

No matter how the government acts, some readers always find things they can complain about. If the government did nothing, they'd complain about it, if the government did something but didn't announce it, they'd complain, if the government announces it, they complain! Right, smith?!

Heroes like that woman don't think about that they are heroes. They act out of complete selflesness. Most people are too selfish or too coward to step out of the line and help somebody else who is in serious distress.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Running out of photo opportunities abroad Abe finally turns his face domestically to gather more brownie points.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm so happy that this woman is being recognized for her bravery. Things like this should be making the news on a daily basis.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

what might those "government intentions" be, CJ?

Several, some good, some cynical, and some necessary for society

Promote social unity through the appearance of social unity.

Gain good publicity through association with a hero

Encourage selflessness and civic-mindedness

The government acted properly, even if part of their motivation is to look good.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

does she have children?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For all those people who think the government is "milking" this, shame on you!!! A person's good deed cannot be praised, without some people being critical of it. Its a shame, that no matter what happens in this world, there will always be people that doubt the good intentions of others.... people who are this critical sit behind their computers and judge the world, forever pointing the finger and saying how bad others are. Get out there and make a change yourself, if you think you can do a better job. This woman should be honoured for being selfless.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@William, I agree with you. Can't some people accept an action without giving color to it? Yes I strongly agree she shld be honored. News like this brings back my trust to the Jpeople and mankind as a whole.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

From my readings those who view this with a dose of scepticism, do so NOT as a slight to the selfless actions of the wonderful woman, BUT as to the prop-up public image op this affords Abe.

As some are suggesting here, that by being critical of Abe, we are critical of Ms Murata, is a display of shallow thinking in the least. Regarding "getting out and making a change if you believe you can do a better job" begs for the "What on earth are you talking about?" utterance.

The title of the article refers to ABE honoring Ms Murata's brave actions, and I find it extremely likely that their will be spinners in his brood, that will squeeze as much holy PR out of this as they can - of course with great solemnity.

So commenting on Abe and his wagon load is entirely appropriate, especially as we've seen few public displays of heart wrenching, teary cries followed by concisive actions over the despair of thousands in Tohoku from our esteemed leader,

Believe what you want, but I'll err on the side of cynicism re Abe, because I haven't seen a lot to date that makes me believe he can empathize with the common folk - unless somethings in it for him.

Sorry thats the way I see him in many instances - AND this has no bearing on the remarkable actions of Ms Murata and trying to insinuate a related slight is despicable.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

True heroes don't need spandex, masks and capes... heroes can be ordinary people doing something extraordinary and saving a life. Natsue was one of these heroes, and it's right that the government honour her.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Two simple steps to starting an argument on JT.

Voice an opinion.. Wait.

Can't we all just get along? The woman was a hero. End of story. Who cares wat the government was trying to do?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

forget the medal! they should make a movie about her!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The samurai spirit still lives in Japan! She was just as a sakura blossom.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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