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.© Japan Today