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Man with guide dog killed after falling off platform on Ginza subway line

29 Comments

A visually impaired man who was walking with his guide dog along the platform at Aoyama-itchome Station on the Ginza subway line in Tokyo fell onto the tracks and was hit by a train on Monday night.The victim was identified as Naoto Shinada, 55. He was taken to hospital where he died about three hours later, police said.

According to police, Shinada was seen with his guide dog walking along the edge of the platform just before 6 p.m., Fuji TV reported. A station employee noticed him walking diagonally across the white line near the platform and called out to him on the PA system.

Witnesses said Shinada suddenly fell onto the tracks and was hit by an oncoming train. The dog remained on the platform and was unharmed.

Although the platform has yellow blocks for visually impaired people, there are no gates on the platform.

Tokyo Metro said it plans to have gates installed on platforms at all 179 stations on its nine lines by 2018. Currently, 85 stations have platform doors.

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29 Comments
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I wonder if anyone saw him walking so close to the edge, and if so why didn't they help? Poor guy. This really sucks!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Numerous references to gates here and claims that Tokyo Metro is cutting corners by not having them. Looks to me like yet another case of a certain group of posters looking to exploit a tragedy for Japan bashing.

As an example of this, the following:

So preventable, profit is more important that human life for Tokyo Metro.... seems totally BS to me.

I use the London Underground from time to and have also used the subways in Chicago and New York City. I've not seen platform gates on any of these foreign systems. And I've not seen the guide blocks for the blind that are ubiquitous in Japan.

If lack of platform gates "proves" Tokyo Metro is putting profits ahead of safety, that is probably also the case for a large fraction of all of the operating rail transportation systems throughout the world.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I would like to see more gates installed at busy stations, they really should be considered standard safety equipment and made mandatory at ones that get crowded at rush hour. As in this tragic instancethe blind are particularly vulnerable on platforms without them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe the dog did it on purpose

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"the dog remained on the platform" Fact is we don't know. As a student I lived with a married couple for two and a half years; the husband was blind and used a guide dog. He, or I should say they (John and his dog Opal) were remarkable. John had a regular Monday to Friday job. Total trust in his dog he walked fast and without hesitation. Having got to know him very well I would imagine that in the unlikely event of stumbling on a railway platform and falling off the edge he would have thought very quickly and let go of his dog so that she didn't fall too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Witnesses said he suddenly lost his balance and fell onto the tracks and was hit by an oncoming train. The dog remained on the platform and was unharmed.

When upright people, regardless of eyesight, begin to lose balance, they automaticly try to grasp for something to hold on to. He was holding onto the handle/collar/lead of the dog. His grip would tighten, and subsequently take the dog with him onto the tracks.

However, the dog remained on the platform.

Furthermore, he 'slipped' just as a train was approaching.

Simple math...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If I saw a blind man walking along the edge of the platform, I would tell him that he is walking on the edge of the platform. I helped a visually impaired woman walking with a cane in Shibuya station one busy day get to where she needed to be. I went up to her and asked whether she needed assistance and she was grateful. I think people think someone else will help or they think someone else who is responsible, such as a police officer, security guard, railway personnel will help. I am so sorry Naohito Shinada fell onto the tracks. Wonder whether Aoyama 1 chome station was fairly new for him as that would explain why he was walking on the edge of the platform; he wasn't aware or because it was crowded he had no choice.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

preventable, profit is more important that human life for Tokyo Metro.... seems totally BS to me.

What does this mean? They're installing platform doors at great expense precisely to stop this kind of accident.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I sincerely hope the railway company has the decency to not go after his family for restitution.

I don't see it happening, it was an accident. I think to win a suit for damages they would have to show intent.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I sincerely hope the railway company has the decency to not go after his family for restitution.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

All readers back on topic please. Posts that do not focus on the story will be removed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah, the grieving family had to all the way to Supreme Court to get it overturned. What's your point?

My point is that it's not likely to happen again after that.

I'm guessing most grieving families don't bother fighting it all the way to Supreme Court.

Well, if we're speculating based on no supporting evidence, then I'm guessing there have been no other cases where the train companies have gone after the family directly, so there hasn't been anyone to fight it all the way to the supreme court.

You implied earlier that they don't go after non-suicides.

No I didn't.

Here's an article containing a direct quote from a railway company official saying that billing surviving family is "standard policy"

His comment was as follows:

詳しい内訳は公表していないのですが、損害額自体で1件あたり200万円ぐらいです。車両も、そんなに大きく壊れる訳ではありません。基本的に損害賠償は求めていく、という方針なのですが、実際の請求額は、高くても100万円いきません

Quick rough translation of the bold section:

"Generally our policy is to go after restitution"

It doesn't say that the surviving family is billed, only that restitution is gone after. Which could mean either that the family is billed, or that the estate is billed. That's why I asked you to provide a concrete example of where the family was billed directly, rather the estate.

I've looked - I couldn't find one. Maybe you'll do better than me and prove me wrong. But at the moment you haven't shown anything that shows the families are directly billed.

And before you quote other parts of the article that do directly refer to the 遺族, it is not clearly stated whether they are directly billed, or if the estate is. That's why I said to find a specific example.

I've looked, I never found anything. Maybe you can do better than I did.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ strangerland

2) You should probably look further into the outcome of that suit

Yeah, the grieving family had to all the way to Supreme Court to get it overturned. What's your point? The railway companies will go after you for damages, suicide or not. I'm guessing most grieving families don't bother fighting it all the way to Supreme Court.

Ok... what does that have to do with my comments?

You implied earlier that they don't go after non-suicides.

Please show one example (either English or Japanese is fine), where the family has been sued by the train lines for the suicide of a family member.

Sure, I'll Google that for you. Here's an article containing a direct quote from a railway company official saying that billing surviving family is "standard policy". http://www.j-cast.com/2008/08/14025166.html

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The dog should be prosecuted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Poor guy, Tokyo Metro finally decided to install barriers for the Olympic games. Some Ginza line platforms are really dangerous when they are crowded, you barely have 1m between the wall and the rails. To their credit, it must be logistically quite complicated to install such barriers without disrputing traffic when you can only work at night between 1AM and 5AM.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know why some of you are wondering why no one helped him. He probably fell off the platform so quickly that nobody had time to do anything.

And holyholly, there is nothing wrong with people in this city.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Just before 6pm on a Monday evening? The platform would have been crowded with people and not one of them offered any assistance to a blind man with his dog? I'm not really surprised though. I hardly ever see anybody help the disabled, aged or mothers with prams. I make a point of doing it, as should everybody! It's such a selfish society we live in today!

Absolutely, Disillusioned! It was O-bon, so there might have been fewer commuters, but Aoyama-Itchome is a very busy station throughout the day. I always help and ask if disabled/mother's w/ children need help when I'm walking around the city. It's a shame when I see all the able-bodied people walk like they don't see me helping the person. Disgusting!! Something's wrong with people in the city. ; (

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Could've sworn that a railway company sued the family of a senile man who got hit by a train (i.e. didn't commit suicide) for "lack of oversight".

1) You yourself said it, it wasn't suicide

2) You should probably look further into the outcome of that suit

Certainly, they don't limit "going after" people to suicides only

Ok... what does that have to do with my comments?

I wouldn't put it past them to go after the family of this man for similar reasons.

Please show one example (either English or Japanese is fine), where the family has been sued by the train lines for the suicide of a family member.

And unless we're talking about a wealthy individual who has taken asset protection measures, the family = the estate for most people. The estate is what is bequeathed, more often than not to family. When there is no will (very common in Japan) the family automatically gets it.

You're correct, but as I said earlier, if the estate is sued, and doesn't have the funds to cover a lost law suit, the family is not liable for the balance.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Watch tbe train company sie his family for the delay. Rules are rules! actually the company should be sued by the family, they know it's dangerous as they plan to install the gates but not doing so or having a safe option for visually impaired passengers could be seen as negligent.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Strangerland

Could've sworn that a railway company sued the family of a senile man who got hit by a train (i.e. didn't commit suicide) for "lack of oversight". Certainly, they don't limit "going after" people to suicides only, and I wouldn't put it past them to go after the family of this man for similar reasons. They show little in the way of benevolence, and in the case above, I think they took it to appeals as well. They don't give up.

And unless we're talking about a wealthy individual who has taken asset protection measures, the family = the estate for most people. The estate is what is bequeathed, more often than not to family. When there is no will (very common in Japan) the family automatically gets it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So preventable, profit is more important that human life for Tokyo Metro.... seems totally BS to me.

How do you know the decision is based on profit and not say the ability to source the necessary supplies and/or the staff to install the gates?

Not sure where you get this claim from, but what's the difference anyway?

If the estate doesn't have enough money to pay, the family is not hit with having to pay the balance. If the family were sued directly, they family would be required to pay it all.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

JR has been known to sue the estate of those who committed suicide. Not their families.

Not sure where you get this claim from, but what's the difference anyway?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Tokyo Metro said it plans to have gates installed on platforms at all 179 stations on its nine lines by 2018. Currently, 85 stations have platform doors.

So preventable, profit is more important that human life for Tokyo Metro.... seems totally BS to me.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Watch tbe train company sie his family for the delay. Rules are rules!

JR has been known to sue the estate of those who committed suicide. Not their families. And this man did not commit suicide.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Watch tbe train company sie his family for the delay. Rules are rules!

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Something seems odd about a person with a guide dog suddenly losing balance and falling on the tracks, but RIP.

Glad the guide dog was unharmed, poor thing. Hopefully it gets a loving new owner quickly. I'm not a dog person myself, but those guide dogs are really are precious treasures.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Just before 6pm on a Monday evening? The platform would have been crowded with people and not one of them offered any assistance to a blind man with his dog? I'm not really surprised though. I hardly ever see anybody help the disabled, aged or mothers with prams. I make a point of doing it, as should everybody! It's such a selfish society we live in today!

1 ( +14 / -13 )

Very tragic situation. RIP.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

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