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Man runs over daughter, nephew in Chiba restaurant parking lot

38 Comments

A 3-year-old girl and her cousin were injured after her father accidentally hit them in the parking lot of a family restaurant in Tomisato City, Chiba Prefecture, on Sunday.

Police said the incident happened around 11 a.m. The 30 year-old man was backing his car out of a parking space at the restaurant when he mistakenly ran over his oldest daughter and her 6-year-old cousin. The girl was pulled beneath the car and sustained serious injuries, while the man's nephew received mild head injuries.

According to police, the two children had gotten out of the car, and the man had not realized they were still in the parking lot when he moved the vehicle.

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38 Comments
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They wouldn't have been able to get out of the car if he had bothered to put the child safety locks on the doors, or even strapped them into their safety seats. I'll leave it to the other posters to bang on about the lack of child safety in this country and to give anecdotes of how only the other day they say ____ whilst driving/cycling/walking etc. I expect the poor man feels terrible.

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Yep, definitely the result of carelessness. What's the bet neither kid was strapped in the car either. Yet another completely preventable tragedy. Not an accident at all! The fact one of the kids was dragged under the car insinuates he was not reversing slowly. I'm always amused watching a Japanese person reverse a car. Full-lock to lock, door open hanging their heads out, three or four tries at putting a 4m car into a 6m space. Simply pathetic! I hope the kids recover.

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the two children had gotten out of the car, and the man had not realized they were still in the parking lot

It sounds like the children had been let out of the car with whoever else was in the group, but that they hadn't been properly escorted into the restaurant. Definitely a case of lack of adult supervision, but not, apparently, a failure to strap them safely into their child seats with the child-locks on the car door. Unless you advocate adults enjoying lunch in a restaurant while the kids wait outside in the car 'safely strapped in'.

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Cleo - I wasn't making a connection between seatbelts and the 'non-accident'. I was just stating there is 99% probability they were not wearing seatbelts.

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there is 99% probability they were not wearing seatbelts

There is a 100% certainty they were not wearing seat-belts. They were wandering about in the car park.

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As always, thank you cleo for injecting some sense into the thread.

My initial reaction was the same as yours, and still likely since we tend to get essential details chopped out around here.

But there is always the possibility that it was just the three of them, and the man expected them to enter the restaurant by themselves, and maybe they usually did but got sidetracked this time. Not that that would excuse the man if true.

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This is tragic and a reminder of how dangerous car parks are. Kids should never be left unsupervised in car parks, even for a few seconds. Hope the little children recover.

As for reversing, I'm always very impressed at Japanese people's reversing and parking skills. They're much better than me.

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Two for the price of one. One has to wonder if their were any other adults in this party and what they were doing when this accident occured.

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imacat

As for reversing, I'm always very impressed at Japanese people's reversing and parking skills. They're much better than me.

the you´re confessing you don´t know how to drive. Have you ever seen any Japanese driver side-parking? I never saw one - they only can park head-on. And it happens that I side-park every day in front of my office and I still see some pedestrians watching the sequence of maneuvers.

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Accidents happen everyday. Hardly think this is worthy of national news.

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likeitis -

If it was just the three of them, then the man was grossly negligent in letting them out of the car alone. Common sense dictates that you park the car before letting kiddies out, and you don't let 3-year-olds go wandering into restaurants or anywhere else alone and supervised only by a 6-year-old.

And I think it would be very, very unusual for a father here to be let loose with a couple of small children. I'm pretty sure there was at least one more adult around, more likely two or three. Maybe even a whole extended family group, making it easier for a couple of little ones to get overlooked - the old but I thought they were with you syndrome.

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the you´re confessing you don´t know how to drive.

I do know how to drive but I can't seem to translate that knowledge into actual driving skill.

I'll grant that you've got a point about backing into a space at the side of the road, that does seem to challenge some Japanese drivers. Maybe they don't need that to pass the test in Japan.

But in a car park they seem pretty good to me.

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not side parking makes for a bad driver ?? Japanese stick their heads out the door whilst reversing ?? No it doesnt and not in my town...with the same exceptions you'll have anywhere,Japanese drivers are fine

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imacat

I'll grant that you've got a point about backing into a space at the side of the road, that does seem to challenge some Japanese drivers. Maybe they don't need that to pass the test in Japan

that´s my point. In a lot of countries if you can´t side-park then you don´t pass the test.

And sorry for saying that you don´t know how to drive. Perhaps you drive better than me. But in US if you can´t side-park then it´s understood that you can drive, only partially.

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He let the kids out to park the car, not so unusual. Maybe mom was with them, maybe not. If mom was there, then what the hell was she thinking? If dad was alone, what the hell was he thinking? Whatever happened, it was because a parent messed up big time. I sure hope the sorry sap doesn't try to blame it on the 6 year old.

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The test that 95% of Japanese take to get a licence includes parallel parking. I personally think that Japanese are, on the whole, great at parking as they are not lazy and tend to back into spaces which is safer than nose in. Parallel parking is unpopular due to the narrow nature of the streets and the fear of holding people up if several attempts are needed. I personally don't like doing it for the above reasons and for fear of whacking my car against a kerb. If the roads were wider it would be okay.

A tragedy for all involved.

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What chain of family restaurant was it? Gusto? Saizeriya? Royal Host?

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Richard:

The test that 95% of Japanese take to get a licence includes parallel parking.

Sorry to tell you that side-parking is required only when a J is trying to obtain a manual transmission license, or 1 out of 10 licensees. The 9 others will have to reverse during the test. No side-parking for the automatic transmission test is required.

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No matter how irrelevant the news, if it has to do with children being injured it's the perfect bait for JT-readers!

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LostinNagoya - I can assure you the Japanese drivers are better than US ones (of course, in average). They usually know how to side- and back park, and they are usually careful while doing it as well. Unfortunately it is impossible to see a small child behind your car and most cheap Japanese car don't have any sonar or camera systems (although camera systems are getting more common now due to decreasing prices). The only way to do it safely is to back REALLY SLOW (so slow that even if you touch a small child she/he will still have time to escape - 1-3 km/h max.). Perhaps I look silly doing this, but I prefer being silly instead of injuring someone, especially in a children populated area (school parking or restaurant parking lots).

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When I have been at a friends place, the first thing they do is get their two dogs under rain (their children are in their late 30s & 20s), let me know they are in that manner (for the dogs simply do not know what to do around a car/truck) then back up manually to turn around & drive on still looking at the two dogs still under control.

Their two dogs are THAT important to them. Should have been so in the case of the two children.

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Anyone who says that Japanese are not safety aware is talking rubbish. i have never been anywhere in the world where there is such an over-emphasis on "safety". What thay are, however, are hopeless drivers.

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Mittsu- Safety - Like kids not using seat belts. Telephone poles in the roads. Bikes, people, 2 lane traffic, on a one lane road with houses right up to the road. Maybe you live in Sapporo and there was some safety planning. But the average parking area and roads in residential areas are the most unsafe I have ever seen. Am thinking seriously of leaving Japan because of it. The quality of life just is not there. Always worried about getting run over. Tokyo seems to be different with its mass transit and the people seem to make one way roads and care about safety. Tokyo I could live in. But being squashed on the trains might make me think again. Oh well, one has to be careful everywhere. Poor children and Family.

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Opening a door and hanging your head out while reversing is not only dangerous because you cannot see the other side of the car, but it is illegal in Australia. I can't believe so many people are defending the reversing skills (or lack of) of Japanese drivers. Cars have mirrors for more reasons than checking your hair style although, that point fails to be recognised in Japan.

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One thing that should be pointed out is that NOWHERE in this article does it say the man was PARKING the car. Some people seem to insist he was in fact pulling IN to a parking space when the article indicates he was backing OUT of one. Now, it's very easy for us to think he maybe pulled in incorrectly, let the kids out, and was backing out to adjust his parking before they all headed in for lunch, but none of that is clear. Were they finished having breakfast and leaving? Unlikely since, again, the kids hopped out of the car. My point is that there are no concrete details on if others were involved, whether they were in the process of going TO the restaurant or FROM it, etc. It's irrelevant whether the kids were wearing seat belts or not in this case, unless they snuck out of the car without pops noticing (in which case it would be easier without the belts).

Anyway, I feel sorry for the poor guy, who must be suffering, but clearly there's some neglect by SOME party here.

Mittsu: "Anyone who says that Japanese are not safety aware is talking rubbish. i have never been anywhere in the world where there is such an over-emphasis on "safety"."

I don't want to go hugely into this except to say that if you've never been anywhere in the world where there is such an over-emphasis on safety, you really ought to leave Japan (clearly you haven't been outside of Asia, at any rate). I have NEVER seen a Japanese sit in the back seat of a car and put on a seat belt of their own volition. In fact, when the law changed recently to 'include those in the backseat as having to wear seat belts', most Japanese I know didn't know it was already law that a passenger in the front seat has to wear a seat belt. Instead I see kids sitting on parents laps, sticking heads out windows, climbing between front and back seats, etc. And do we really have to talk about 'over-emphasis on safety' when we talk about driving laws with signal lights, cell phones, etc.? I will admit the Japanese are genius when it comes to parking in tight spaces (although it's pretty rare to see cars without a scratch here or there) and navigating narrow streets, but give me a break on the rest!

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"The 30 year-old man was backing his car out of a parking space at the restaurant when he mistakenly ran over his oldest daughter and her 6-year-old cousin. The girl was pulled beneath the car and sustained serious injuries, while the man’s nephew received mild head injuries.

According to police, the two children had gotten out of the car, and the man had not realized they were still in the parking lot when he moved the vehicle."

To me it sounds as if they were leaving the restaurant. As usual this would not have occured if the rear doors had the child safety lock on and/or the driver had backed into the spot instead of nose in. I guess this is the only way some will learn and then not even.

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Sorry to tell you that side-parking is required only when a J is trying to obtain a manual transmission license, or 1 out of 10 licensees. The 9 others will have to reverse during the test. No side-parking for the automatic transmission test is required.

Well, I attended a driving school last year and everyone, MT or AT, had to practice parallel parking. Of course whether it came up on your test was pot luck, and in my case it was reverse parking but I still had to know how to do it just in case.

Anyway, reverse into spaces, it's the safest way.

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@ Richard, if you were having a conversion from US license to a Japanese one, then you would need to side-park. But foreigners and Js getting a J-license won´t have to side-park, only reverse-park.

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LostinNagoya,

I see, but I am talking about driving schools, NOT the prefectural licence centres run by the police. 95% of Japanese drivers graduate from driving schools and as such practice parallel parking. Well, I did anyway at my school in Futakotamagawa.

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I agree with all the contributors who believe J drivers are some of the most safety conscience in the world(with the exception of Okinawa...dangerous driving down there). Where else do people brake when they go around corners? However, slow drivers in outside lanes and cars without baby seats are two of the most dangerous causes of injury. We need to change this. Unfortunately, an accident happened and I can't even imagine the distress the parents must be going through. Good luck to the girl.

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I can assure you the Japanese drivers are better than US ones (of course, in average). They usually know how to side- and back park, and they are usually careful while doing it as well.

I will completely agree with you! But they seriously lack Common-Sense and Critical Thinking skills!

They kinds of run over your own daughter accidents are completely preventable, there's no excuse... JN parents seem to think that everything will just work out, because they haven't had any problems before... 3 and 6 years olds are not adults, and they cannot be left alone unattended in a parking lot, so if that means dad physically puts them through the window into the car with him (if he's the only adult present), so he's 100% sure they aren't playing around behind the car, then that's what needs to happen.

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Den Den i do not agree, Japanese are extremely unaware of their surrondings. calling grooming behind the wheel, kids loose in the car. This is probably another act of carelesnes. Even if the mother wasn't looking he should have checked if they were around

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Japanese drivers can be totally oblivious to their surroundings. Simply put there is little excuse for the almost complete lack of awareness they display.

I wonder if this is the real reason behind the social rule that cars should reverse into parking spaces in Japan - so that the average J-driver might be able to see what's staring them full in the face when they pull out.

Add to the carelessness list:

Japanese drivers stopping half-on, half-off the road when they pull into shop parking area. I have no idea why they do it but it's very dangerous.

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I am sorry, but most Japanese drivers are just idiots, including this fool who, let me guess, NEVER made his kids wear SEATHBELTS in his car, so he does not even know if the kids are still in the car or running around the parking lot, while this 30 year old idiot is still trying to park his car???? Just a complete idiot! I feel sorry for this family and I hope the children learn to put on their seatbelts, because if you are 30 years old and still don't know that wearing seatbelts is the law, well you are an idiot and there is probably no use in trying to teach "an old dog new tricks" like making sure your kids are wearing seat belts. I have 2 kids, and I make sure they are wearing their seatbelts properly before my car is ever in motion,period!

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this fool who, let me guess, NEVER made his kids wear SEATHBELTS in his car, so he does not even know if the kids are still in the car or running around the parking lot

If you read the article, it's pretty clear he knew they were not in the car; he didn't know they were still in the car park, ie he thought they had gone into the restaurant. Obviously there's still irresponsibility and incompetence going on, but there's no need for the knee-jerk 'what about the seatbelts' refrain.

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"Opening a door and hanging your head out while reversing is not only dangerous because you cannot see the other side of the car, but it is illegal in Australia...." news to me (an Aussie) however not a big surprise...everything is illegal in the Nanniest of Nations! My sympathy to the Dad. This was an accident!

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Mirrors are fine as far as they go, but you need to actually turn your head to cover the zones NOT covered by the mirrors. Even so, there's a possibility that a 6 year old and a 3 year old would be below the zone covered by the rear view mirror AND turning to look out the back window. As to why he would be backing out of the spot with his kids out of the car, I haven't a clue and would be very presumptuous to try and guess.

I hope his little girl makes a full recovery.

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Even so, there's a possibility that a 6 year old and a 3 year old would be below the zone covered by the rear view mirror AND turning to look out the back window.

There's a reason why I don't buy certain J-Cars (Nissan Cube - I'm talking about you): piss-poor rear visibility.

That said - if you try to be alert to what is going on about you it's pretty hard to get into such situations - i.e. I heard the car doors opening, but I didn't see the kids going into the restaurant where could they be?

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