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Relatives of victims mark 10th anniversary of Sasago tunnel disaster

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Relatives of nine victims who died in the collapse of the Sasago tunnel ceiling in Yamanashi Prefecture on Dec 2, 2012, gathered at the site on Friday to attend a memorial ceremony.

Central Nippon Expressway Co (NEXCO) executives and local government representatives also attended the ceremony at 8 a.m. in Tsuru, NHK reported

The nine victims were in three vehicles when concrete panels suspended from the roof of the tunnel crashed down and crushed the vehicles, setting several ablaze.

After the accident, NEXCO reported that the emergency inspection of the tunnel’s south-bound lane had revealed defects in 670 locations. The bolts which fix the ceiling panels to the nearly 4.7-kilometer-long tunnel were loose or corroded in roughly 632 places. In other parts of the tunnel, the concrete ceiling of the tunnel was cracked.

Takekazu Kaneko, former chief of Nagoya-based NEXCO, Hisashi Iwata, former head of its Tokyo-based road maintenance subsidiary, and six other are executives were referred to prosecutors on suspicion of negligence resulting in deaths and injuries.

In March 2018, prosecutors decided not to proceed with the case and the indictment was dropped.

Relatives of the victims claimed that Kaneko and the others failed to take necessary steps during an inspection in September 2012 to prevent an accident even though the checkup showed that the bolts used to anchor a steel structure to the tunnel ceiling were becoming loose, posing a danger of a collapse.

The period for the checkup was also shortened to prioritize another inspection at a different site, while the procedure was simplified as scaffolding that consumes time to dismantle was not used, the investigators said.

© Japan Today

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5 Comments
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Can't believe that was 10 years ago!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

[ Takekazu Kaneko, former chief of Nagoya-based NEXCO, Hisashi Iwata, former head of its Tokyo-based road maintenance subsidiary, and six other are executives were referred to prosecutors on suspicion of negligence resulting in deaths and injuries.

In March 2018, prosecutors decided not to proceed with the case and the indictment was dropped. ]

Hmm wonder how they "decided not to proceed." In the mean time normal folk who steal from a supermarket because they are starving are prosecuted without fail.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I possibly have to drive over 120km through tunnels because my partner has a severe fear of tunnels after this event. Especially the dark ones with leaking water.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's outrageous that on a toll road, and possibly one of the most used and profitable in the country, that such negligence was excused. I heard that the cars involved were crushed down to their number plates.

If this had happened in another country people would have been gleefully pointing their fingers and saying that it wouldn't happen in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Better late than never. All tunnels in Japan must be examined by qualified experts. Or else...........................................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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