A police officer inspects the wreckage of a car in which three people died in Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Tuesday morning. Photo: YOUTUBE/TV SHIZUOKA

Three 18-year-olds killed, one in coma after traffic accident in Shizuoka


Two 18-year-old girls and an 18-year-old boy were killed after their car flipped over and was hit by an oncoming truck in Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Tuesday morning. Another 18-year-old boy who was in the car suffered extensive injuries and is in a coma, police said.

According to police, the accident occurred at around 12:40 a.m. on a prefectural highway, Fuji TV reported. The 64-year-old truck driver, who was not injured, called police after the accident and said a car in the opposite lane had flipped over and crossed the center line into his path.

The driver of the car and three passengers were taken to hospital where the two girls and a boy were pronounced dead. They were identified as Ayuka Sugiyama, Nana Sano and Keita Takano. The second boy, Kaito Higaki, remained in a coma on Tuesday afternoon.

Police said visibility was good at the time of the accident and believe the car may have been speeding when it flipped over.

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Seat belts, anyone?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Those cars are literally death traps-never would I have one....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Keis do what they are build for - transport and fuel efficency. They ate not build to withstand significant crashes. If they were in a volvo they would all survive - I have a volvo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Up until I read this article I thought k-cars couldn't go on freeways, like in the US. I sometimes saw k-type little pickup trucks on my university campus in the US being used by grounds-keepers.

Those aren't k-cars, they're UTVs. You can't drive them on the street in the US anywhere. They don't have any safety features aside from occasional seat belts and usually don't even have turn signals. Many are just fancy golf carts with battery powered motors.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Up until I read this article I thought k-cars couldn't go on freeways, like in the US. I sometimes saw k-type little pickup trucks on my university campus in the US being used by grounds-keepers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

These K-cars are very dangerous at speed.

Well, adding 200 mm length and 150 mm in width can make a Kei car US legal.

Korean Kei cars are US legal and sold in the US. Why? Because Korea applies to same crash standard on Kei cars as regular cars, and this is why Korea's Kei cars can pass US crash test and be sold in the US.

So it is not that the Kei cars can't be made safe, but that Japanese laws are archaic and needs to be modernized.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As an American living in Japan, I have seen “K” cars sway in high winds on the highway, and fishtail on wet roads. These young 18 year olds deserved a car that would provide them a certain amount of safety on the road! What a shame to have died so young and in such a horrific way! I can only say RIP and offer my condolences to their families.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One thing not mentioned in the article, is that they were going more than 50km/h over the speed limit... On the country highway that they were on, that means they were likely going over 110km/h + on a non-divided rural highway..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

RIP. Terrible loss over a bit of speed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


Thanks for the ingorm. Driving them on Highways is just crazy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think they were not wearing seat belts. I think it was reported on TV.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

yoshisan88 - Do Kei car have air bags? Also is that a safety rating system like NCAP In Japan?

They have airbags, but are not governed by normal Japanese or international safety standards due to their small engine size (660cc). That is how they get away with producing these mobile coffins. They fail safety standards of most countries and cannot be imported. They have virtually zero side impact protection and no crumpled zones. As mentioned above a few times, they are just death traps!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Kei cars are death traps. Coffins on wheels.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Do Kei car have air bags? Also is that a safety rating system like NCAP

In Japan?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Strangerland - "Nowadays, cars have high performance turbo engines" - No the car in the picture.

The car might not be powerful, but it is not speed limited either. These K-cars (aluminium cans) are dangerous at any speed, but especially over 80kph. The wheel-base is narrow and they are very light with tiny tires and crappy suspension. Any bump in the road can send them bouncing off in any direction, which is what I suspect happened in this case. The driver was young and inexperienced, was driving too fast (80kph+), hit a bump in the road, the driver over-corrected the steering, which flipped the car into the path of an oncoming truck.

These K-cars are very dangerous at speed. Inexperienced drivers should not be permitted to drive them at all. I had a Daihatsu Atrai wagon many years ago and hated it. It was ok to go to the supermarket (if you didn't have an accident), but driving it long distance on the highway was terrible. The wheel-base is not wide enough for the wheel ruts in the road created by other vehicles and it's a constant juggling act to keep two wheels in the ruts while driving with the car at an angle. I found the only way to drive it at speed was get up close behind a bus and slipstream it. I only owned it for six months before I got rid of it. I've had 3 Stepwgns since then. K-cars are much more dangerous than motorcycles. They have no crumple zones and if you are involved in an accident, they will fold up around you. The particular model in the photo has the back seats about 30cm from the back of the car. If it was rear-ended, those in the back seat (usually children) would be crushed by the impact. Yeah, K-cars might very well be cheap and convenient, but they are not safe. I would never put my family in one. You might save a few hundred -thousand yen over a year, but it could also very easily cost you your life and the life of your family.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

PS When I say 'this way' I mean in a car accident at night where four were packed into one car.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The rollover is one thing, but they were hit by a truck coming from the opposite direction. No roof would stand up to that.

So terribly sad when you hear about these young lives lost or maimed just when they were looking forward to a bright future. Two of my best friends lost their kids this way.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I wonder if any crash tests have been done to compare keis to regular vehicles' safety performance in various collision scenarios? Could these people have been spared if they were in a standard minivan, sedan, wagon, CUV, or HB? Besides the increased structural sturdiness of the latter vehicles, might they have also been less prone to rollover? Those kei box vans with their tall, narrow bodies, look ripe for rolling over.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Just drove back from Hyogo to Yokohama on the highways. Was over taken regularly by trucks and buses going in excess of 120km/ h, as well as Kei cars that wobbled unsteadily in the winds, as they pulled out to overtake, or even pass on the left. Kei cars are maybe ok for narrow tracks, lanes and roads in the country, but they are not suitable for highways. Their narrow tyres and relatively tall bodies makes them unstable, especially in crosswinds and tight corners, and even more so when overloaded with goods or passengers.

Kei cars - made to save money but ending up costing lives.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Nowadays, cars have high performance turbo engines

No the car in the picture.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The picture shows it to look like a mini-vehicle van, as opposed to a normal car. That would explain the awful damage to its occupants how the truck driver escaped damage.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Poor relatives. And looking at the picture this is why I think we need a ban on keicars. While compact and light it's like the car is made of paper. One accident and you're out.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

As a kid, we sometimes sped. But those times cars were slow and were made of metal. Nowadays, cars have high performance turbo engines and go very fast and made of plastic parts to lower weight and increase fuel efficiency.. If speeding was the cause, I wonder why we need such fast cars when the speed limit is 40km, 50km, 70km and 80km?

sorry for the families and the truck driver.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Wow. RIP. So young.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

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