A visually impaired 63-year-old man walking with his guide dog was hit and killed by a train after he fell off the platform at a station in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, on Saturday.
According to police, the incident occurred at around 7 a.m. at JR Warabi Station on the Keihin Tohoku Line. Fuji TV reported that the man was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police said that station surveillance camera footage showed the man walking close to the edge of the platform. The dog was behind the man, to his left.
Although the platform has yellow blocks for visually impaired people, there are no gates on the platform. The man teetered on the edge of the platform and let go of the dog's harness just before he fell. The dog remained on the platform.
There was no one else near the man at the time of the incident which is the latest in a series of similar cases where visually impaired people have fallen off platforms at train and subway stations in the past few years. In a much-publicized accident last August, a man with a guide dog died after falling off the platform at Aoyama-Itchome subway station in Tokyo.
Last October, an organization for visually impaired people held a forum in Tokyo at which they called on railway and subway operators to speed up plans to install platform doors as well as more yellow blocks on platforms.
Additionally, they proposed a system that will sound an alert to visually impaired people if they get too near the edge of the platform as well as a system where an IC card touch at the gate notifies station staff of the presence of a visually handicapped person to make it easier for them to receive support.© Japan Today