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Visually-impaired man falls off platform onto tracks at Nakano Station

19 Comments

A visually-impaired man in his 40s fell of the platform at JR Nakano Station in Tokyo on Thursday morning but was able to escape serious injury by crawling under the platform as a train pulled in.

According to police and station officials, the incident occurred at around 8 a.m. during rush hour. The platform was crowded and the man told police that he thought he was near the stairs when he fell, TV Asahi reported. He suffered light injuries from the fall but the train did not touch him.

In an effort to reduce the number of accidents and suicides involving people falling or jumping from train platforms at stations in Tokyo, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism began a project in 2011 to install automatic gates at 235 stations in Tokyo.

But work has been proceeding slowly due to technical difficulties and spiralling costs. One reason is due to the complex structure of each platform; the shape and numbers of the doors differ according to different types of trains.

According to ministry figures, in 2011, there were 209 accidents caused by falls at train stations in the Tokyo metropolitan region. At major stations which handles more than 100,000 passengers a day, such as Shinjuku, Tokyo, Shibuya and Shinagawa, these types of accidents have increased by 30% within five years.

The transport ministry is also urging train operators to install more “braille blocks” - yellow strips with raised sections – on the platforms at the busiest stations to prevent visually impaired passengers from falling onto the tracks.

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19 Comments
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In an effort to reduce the number of accidents and suicides involving people falling or jumping from train platforms at stations in Tokyo, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism began a project in 2011 to install automatic gates at 235 stations in Tokyo.

Ya think? DOH! One would have thought this was a no-brainer, 40 years ago! Better late than never I guess, but don't tell this guy.

I glad to hear he wasn't injured but this is ludicrous that after all these years they are just getting around to fixing the problem now.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Thank goodness he was ok. I agree with the poster above. Sheesh, after all these years you would think this automatic gate thing would have happened in this techno society.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nobody helped him?? So the stoic people during rush hour just watched him fall off the platform?? This is unbelievable.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Unless automatic gates are installed, it is not possible to eradicate this type of accident. I sure hope they proceed to meet the obligation of installing automatic gates as soon as possible.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nobody helped him?? So the stoic people during rush hour just watched him fall off the platform?? This is unbelievable.

The man fell off the platform and then crawled under it as a train pulled in; what exactly were people meant to do? Jump down and join him?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

That station is absolute madness during morning rushhour. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, let alone the blind.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@yubaru: calm down implementing gates is not easy:

One reason is due to the complex structure of each platform; the shape and numbers of the doors differ according to different types of trains.

We at least should be happy they are working on it. In Osaka they havent even thought about it yet. :

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Tokyo, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism began a project in 2011 to install automatic gates at 235 stations in Tokyo.

And how many have them now? Hardly any.

But work has been proceeding slowly due to technical difficulties and spiralling costs. One reason is due to the complex structure of each platform; the shape and numbers of the doors differ according to different types of trains.

Excuses excuses. I would hardly call each platform "complex". If they can have the same trains using each platform, they should be able to figure out how to have the same barriers on each platform. Anyway, why don't they get the easy ones done? I can only remember seeing them at Ebisu and Meguro, I think. And the Ebisu ones didn't run the full length of the platform. Why did they decide on having trains with doors in different places to begin with? What was the merit?

They are just giving excuses as to why they won't spend money on something useful.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I use this train from Nakano each morning, and on the platform in question there is only 1 type of train which is used. Like Probie said, why not do the easy ones regardless, and that means even installing on some platforms, not all, in a station. I imagine the people in charge are on the black and white decision making, "If we can't do all platforms in a station, then let's move on to another station".... I think the barriers should be legally mandatory on any platform that allows express trains to pass through the station.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"The transport ministry is also urging train operators to install more “braille blocks” - yellow strips with raised sections – on the platforms at the busiest stations to prevent visually impaired passengers from falling onto the tracks. "

I am all for helping the blind, but I HATE these brail blocks. On rainy days they get so slippery, that they are dangerous (especially those on pavements outside.) I once saw this ba-chan fall over one, and her vision was fine. IMO they are not that great, and only help a very select few blind people who have canes. For the rest of the partially sighted (no canes) and everyone else, they are more trouble than they are worth.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@yubaru: calm down implementing gates is not easy:

And just how many years has Japan had trains? How many years have people been falling off the platforms onto the tracks?

The ONLY reason I see it being dealt with now is because of the ease with which information is now passed along with the internet. I can not recall, (pre-net days) of ever hearing much about these types of incidents on the news, except in dramatic cases.

It's also not like the technology wasn't available before it was, just the train companies didnt want to spend the money. Why do you think that families have to pay some of the expenses here when someone commits suicide by jumping in front of a train? It happened so much that laws had to be instituted to try to stop all the people who were doing it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We at least should be happy they are working on it. In Osaka they havent even thought about it yet. :

Papiguilo, what? Some lines already have them in Osaka - the tsurumi ryokuchi and Imazato lines, If I am correct. Possibly the new tram too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Putting gates is just unnecessary and extremely costly. They announce to stay behind the yellow lines. Sure they would have prevented this accident but I don't want the Japanese people to be more complacent then they already are. People walking around looking at their i-something or other not looking what they're doing. Not watching their children like they should. People need to take more responsibility for their well being.

As for why no one helped him, its hard to say people just watched or didn't notice until he fell. It could be that or he was just too far away for anyone to do anything in time. It's hard to say since there is nothing said about it in the article. I'm sure someone tried or said something to the poor man. Either way, I'm glad he's okay.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Papiguilo, what? Some lines already have them in Osaka - the tsurumi ryokuchi and Imazato lines, If I am correct. Possibly the new tram too.

Really? I did not know that since I never take those lines except the main ones like Midosuji, JR, Hankyuu and Hanshin.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Harry Gatto

I think it's common sense that I meant before he fell off the platform. Why would anyone try to save someone on an incoming train? Some people just look at the blind and don't even inform them if they are already near the edge of the platform, it's just my observation.

"The man fell off the platform and then crawled under it as a train pulled in; what exactly were people meant to do? Jump down and join him?"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Singapore has them and I feel very comfortable riding their trains. The trains in Japan are safe except for the people riding them. Put up the guards!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The transport ministry is also urging train operators to install more 'braille blocks'

The official name for those "braille blocks" is tactile paving.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Putting gates is just unnecessary and extremely costly.

What's the economic cost of a suicide at a busy station?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Putting gates is just unnecessary and extremely costly.

Not when they may save one life they aren't. It isn't going to cost the train companies that much either, the costs will be reimbursed by you and me!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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