Man shoveling snow dies after fall from roof in Aomori Pref


A 52-year-old man who was clearing snow from the roof of his house died after falling to the ground in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, on Monday.

Fuji TV reported that Monday was an unusually mild winter day for the area. In Hirosaki, the temperature in the morning was -1.3 degrees Celsius, approximately 4 degrees warmer than the average year. Snow had started to melt, likely making rooftops slippery, police said.

A passerby found the man, identified as Seigo Saito, lying on the ground outside his house just after noon and called 119. A shovel was found on the roof, police said. He was taken to hospital where he died about one hour later.

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

I really can't understand the people who climb up on their rooftops in typhoons or heavy snow -- you need to take precautions if and when you do. Seriously, we read about this every single year.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Another snow related death in Aomori happened on the 25th when a 27-year-old employee of Hirakawa city went through a skylight when clearing an accumulation of one meter off snow off the roof of an unused school and fell three stories. It appears the city had failed to provide the workers with safety lines or take safety measures regarding the skylight(s?) even though it (they?) had previously broken from the weight of snow. It's unclear so far whether the workers knew of the existence or location of the skylight/s. .

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I really can't understand the people who climb up on their rooftops in typhoons or heavy snow

You figure it's better to let their roofs collapse under the weight of the snow?

0 ( +8 / -8 )

@ Strangerland

the house could not possibly be that old. when was the last time this even happened? it doesnt happen. wait for a break in the bad weather and equip yourself with adequate footwear and supplies. roofs dont collapse under the weight of snow, not anymore.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

the house could not possibly be that old.

There are plenty of old houses in Japan. What are you basing the above judgement on?

when was the last time this even happened?

I don't know when it last happened. But they can get meters of snow up north, do you have any idea how much that weighs? Not only does it happen, you can even get insurance for it.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

@gaijin playa

Roofs collapsed under the weight of snow in February 2014 in Gunma, Saitama and Yokohama. Two dead and one injured.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@ lucabrasi yes but they were old houses, not in hokkaido either.

0 ( +4 / -4 )


-4 ( +2 / -6 )

There is no need to do the "cultural thing" of clearing snow from the roof. Every year we hear of this tragic of unnecessary loss of lives. The roof if appropriately designed with the proper slant and materials will be able to take the weight of snow and not accumulate too much snow. So the root is building control on architectural and engineering specifications, which Japan should be excellent. Overtime the snow will melt or slight off on certain weather conditions. There are safer ways to cause the snow to slight off than climbing on the roof in harsh winter conditions to clear snow.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Heck, I'm not here to argue. Just thought I'd add a bit of information. Couldn't care less and I'll keep out in future....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

don't go on your roof man, its slippery

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Be roped to something when on the roof. There. Solved it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

mr_jgb has saved me writing most of what I was going to. A metal roof on a heated building, like this man's house, will shed snow before it gets very dangerous so long as it is about 25 degrees or steeper. It should also have a simple construction without dormers, and maybe a steeper point at the apex to stop snow straddling it. Accidents like this are avoidable. 52 makes this gentleman one of the younger victims.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

4 ( +4 / -0 )

EVERY year, do these people never read, listen to or take note of the news? Person dies falling of roof.

Does it not compute, or do people actually believe, ‘It won’t happen to me?’

Take precautions, easy. Use a rope, tie yourself safe. QED.

3 ( +4 / -1 )


So the root is building control on architectural and engineering specifications, which Japan should be excellent.

Should be, not always.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@g playa: A lot of the housing stock is old, notably on the sea of Japan coast, Tohoku and Hokkaido. Just put “雪で屋根の崩落” in Google and check the photos out.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hirosaki isn't far from Hakkoda, and according to JMA, they currently have 60cm of snow on the ground, which is average for there in January. With a house in the video, the guy will have had to climb up onto the roof pretty much every year, possibly three or four times in a bad year.

With ropes, there is the issue of how do you set it up. Any anchor on the roof will be buried, so you have to run the rope from the other side of the house and throw it over. For some properties with high roofs on narrow plots, this may be nigh on impossible, and I guess the difficulty and hassle involved is probably why many people don't use ropes, foolish though that is.

The solution is to design the roof better in the first place. Hirosaki is a snow zone where people should really know better.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Thanks for the link. I noticed most of the roofs in those pictures were of large buildings such as barns, parking garages, or warehouses. Hardly structures built to housing specs. And a smattering of those flimsy carport roofs so many people have. I didn't see an old Hokkaido farm house among the pictures or even regular houses built in the last 50 years. I'm sure those have collapsed some time in the past but from the link you sent, not so much.

I wonder if houses in Tokyo or further south, Kyushu, could withstand 60 cm of snow. I suspect they could seeing as how building specifications are generally national vs local to some extent.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites