Man arrested for trying to push 9-year-old girl off platform at train station

WAKAYAMA —

Police said Monday that a 39-year-old man with a history of mental illness was arrested at a train station in Hashimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, for allegedly attempting to murder a 9-year-old girl by trying to push her off the platform.

According to police, the man, identified as Jiro Shimazaki, attacked the girl at Kii-Yamada Station at around 2 p.m. Sunday, striking her on the head several times before trying to push her onto the tracks. Fuji TV reported that the girl was rescued by a commuter waiting on the platform, while other passengers grabbed Shimazaki.

Police say Shimazaki has a history of mental illness. During questioning, he was quoted by police as saying he was angry and wanted to kill somebody, and that he didn’t care who it was.

Japan Today

  • 11

    smithinjapan

    Lock him up, either in prison or an asylum. Good on the two commuters for grabbing the girl and Shimazaki, and I hope the little girl is okay.

  • 7

    jojo_in_japan

    Throw him into a loony bin and toss the keys.

  • 16

    Onniyama

    Happy to hear some people stepped in. Hope she is ok and not traumatized too much. Poor thing.

  • 2

    Disillusioned

    Wow! Does anyone remember the loon that threw a four year old kid of a train overpass seven or eight years ago? Very similar story. And, this 'I just wanted to kill someone' motive seems to be repeating itself very often. Keep your wits about you people. There are plenty of loons out there.

  • 12

    Sensato

    Thank goodness commuters in the vicinity had the courage and boldness to intervene. They deserve national recognition for their heroism.

  • -5

    basroil

    More reason to put platform gates up within the year. JR (and other companies, but especially JR since others are doing something) needs to put platform gates up at every train platform that serves a single car length (only three different car lengths, and most cars are the same length even for different companies and door positions), and do so immediately, not within a few years.

  • 9

    Nessie

    he was quoted by police as saying he was angry and wanted to kill somebody, and that he didn’t care who it was

    ...as long as it was someone weak and defenseless. Damned coward.

  • 9

    WilliB

    basroil:

    " More reason to put platform gates up within the year "

    Nothing wrong with more platform gates, but they won´t stop a lunatic who decided he "wants to kill" someone. Technofixes do not address the issue of dangerous crazies walking among us.

  • 1

    combinibento

    During questioning, he was quoted by police as saying he was angry and wanted to kill somebody, and that he didn’t care who it was.

    Oh if I had a nickel for every story on JT that ended with this sentence...

  • -8

    basroil

    WilliBJan. 07, 2013 - 03:01PM JST

    Nothing wrong with more platform gates, but they won´t stop a lunatic who decided he "wants to kill" someone. Technofixes do not address the issue of dangerous crazies walking among us.

    Full height train platforms STOP 100% OF ACCIDENTS, SUICIDES, AND MURDER USING TRAINS AND TRAIN TRACKS AT THE PLATFORM. You can't fix stupid/crazy, but you sure as hell can stop using trains as means of killing with a very simple and cheap solution called a (full height) platform gate

  • 1

    Goals0

  • 1

    Jason Stiles

    Crazy people doing crazy things. Thank god the little girl is ok and good job that those commuters helped its nice to see good people in this crazy world.

  • -1

    Cricky

    A 9 year old??? Idiot!!! They can be difficult!

    As a proud Japanese Man? Should have gone fore something smaller! Perhaps...normality???

  • 1

    Thunderbird2

    Care in the community? Good example of why people with mental illness should be monitored 24 hours a day.

  • 3

    LiveInTokyo

    So glad to hear that someone was able to step in this time and save us from reading about another tragedy.

  • -2

    Tiger_In_The_Hermitage

    So sad, not safe anywhere....

  • 4

    Dennis Bauer

    @basroil people can climb or throw kids over the gates, need to address the cause not the symptoms.

  • 2

    southsakai

    Disillusioned Keep your wits about you people. There are plenty of loons out there.

    Disillusioned you said it spot on. Never be too complacent is all i can really say. Good people on the platform that day

  • 0

    Tom DeMicke

    He'll hardly be punished, he is sick and that will be his defense. I sure hope this little girl will be okay. Geez!

  • 3

    Crazedinjapan

    Problem here is there is not enough awareness about mental health here and even less ability to deal with it on a professional level.

  • -1

    Yubaru

    Care in the community? Good example of why people with mental illness should be monitored 24 hours a day.

    Define mental illness please. There are plenty of people walking around on this planet including Japan that have some type of "mental" illness or the other.

    You are going to end up needing monitors to monitor the monitors.

  • -2

    Cricky

    Define mantal illness?

    Did the story not give enough detail? At what point say, throwing a 9 yo into a train, does this not involve Mental illness ? your boundaries are very high At what age do these actions become crazed? I am interested? the apologists are making the excuses for the deranged Is that the new normal? I'm sorry I have been frozen in ice for many centuries? Did not realize the lunatics had taken over the asylum. Should pay more attention to politicts

  • 1

    Elbuda Mexicano

    If this can happen in Wakayama you can bet it can and will happen sooner or later here in Tokyo, Osaka etc...where we have way more people than little Wakayama!! Thank god/s this little girl was protected by the other commuters! As for the crazy man, time for the death penalty ASAP!!

  • 3

    Frungy

    YubaruJan. 07, 2013 - 05:44PM JST Define mental illness please. There are plenty of people walking around on this planet including Japan that have some type of "mental" illness or the other.

    There are well-defined definitions, as well as levels. The highest level is "a danger to themselves or others", and that would clearly cover this guy and require institutionalization in almost any country. The next level down is the functionality test, which looks at whether the person can hold down a job/function at school, and failure to meet this level generally means the person needs some degree of supervision and is a red flag. The next level down is impaired functionality, where the mental problem is causing problems with the person holding down their job/functioning at school, etc, and generally regula counselling sessions are recommended here.

    ... of course the problem in Japan is that MDs think they know something about psychology, and psychiatrists just give them a handfull of pills and send then home.

  • 2

    osakajoe

    other passengers grabbed Shimazaki

    good to hear people just don't stand there without doing anything. Things are doing better

  • -1

    Yubaru

    @Cricky....did you see what I was replying to? The statement I quoted, if you read it again was overly broad. I know very well the intent, but what was said was wrong.

    Mentally ill people, seriously mentally ill people YES should not be on the streets, but here in Japan that are plenty of "mentally ill" people that function very well in society yet some still cause problems, like this guy.

    We have no idea what his "history of mental illness" was or is for that matter, and to want to have all people who are mentally ill monitored 24/7 is a ludicrous idea imo.

  • 0

    C Harald Hansen

    Jeez, another platform pusher, I hope this doesn't become an epidemic. Taking the train is stressful enough in rush hour, but you don't want to think that you're going to get killed on your way to and from work...

  • 3

    wipeout

    More reason to put platform gates up within the year. JR (and other companies, but especially JR since others are doing something) needs to put platform gates up at every train platform that serves a single car length (only three different car lengths, and most cars are the same length even for different companies and door positions), and do so immediately, not within a few years.

    In Hong Kong, after two unrelated incidents where people were deliberately pushed off platforms onto the tracks, they started installing gates at MTR stations. It was a multi-year programme, and there are not even 100 stations. The idea that JR West could fit all its stations - there are hundreds of them for that company alone - within a year is not remotely feasible.

    There are practical issues too: the gates have to be regularly inspected and maintained, and they have to perform flawlessly at all times for decades to come, without delaying trains unduly or trapping passengers and injuring or killing them. The more gates installed, the more potential for problems.

    While it's easy to say put in more gates, no train platform should be open, in practice it's a different matter. Which country has protected all its platforms this way?

  • 3

    WilliB

    wipeout:

    " While it's easy to say put in more gates, no train platform should be open, in practice it's a different matter. Which country has protected all its platforms this way? "

    None of course. And even Japan will not be able to install and maintain platform gates at boondock stations like Ki Yamada.

    Simple fact is, technofixes are good where practical, but they can not solve everything; certainly not mental disease.

  • 1

    Jannetto

    I can't think of many (any?) other places where a 9 year old would be taking the train alone. Parents need to wake up to the fact that Japan is not as "safety" as they think & given the lack of mental health care, there are probably more unstable people out there than they'd like to think/admit.

  • 2

    vctokyo

    too many mentally ill people in japan that arent being cared for. Does the govt even recognise this as a problem? dont just lock them up, give them some treatment.

  • 1

    Mirai Hayashi

    Kudos to the quick thinkers who rescued the girl. Caretakers of the 39 year old need to be questioned IMO

  • 0

    Serrano

    I'm afraid Jiro is going to have to be kept locked up for a long time.

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    IF he has mental illness he should not be allowed to walk the streets.

  • 2

    Herve Nmn L'Eisa

    This nutter belongs in a safe place, safely away from sane people. I see obviously crazy people at train stations every day. Some are at least a danger to themselves, but it's not PC to institutionalize them. Others have some developmental handicap, but are generally calm and low risk. The mental health care system needs attention.

    Thankfully for the girl there were some brave people to rescue her.

  • 2

    blendover

    A lot of these borderline mentally ill people are classified as not being a danger to society because they wouldn't be if they were and had in the past been in receipt of adequate services. The inadequacy of services is not factored into the judgements because if it were then the provision of next level services which are not budgeted for would then become a legal obligation on the state.

    This inadequacy starts right from childhood. For example, even though early intervention programs are known to be effective in many cases they simply do not exist in Japan. Large schools for the mentally disabled have no clinical psycholgists working in them on more than a part time basis of a few hours a week, and are entirely staffed by people who have low level training, and can only run an IEP on paper. A great many of those people who are qualified psychologists, again on paper, are actually not capable of working at the same level of professionalism as their peers on other countries because they don't have the experience. They don't have the experience because very few people can afford their services and they are nearly all working part time. Need I go on?

  • -1

    Frungy

    I could put gates in for a fraction of the cost and in a fraction of the time. Gimme about a dozen 10 foot metal poles per platform, about a hundred yards of chain link fence, and about 6 motion-triggered locks (total cost at today's prices, about $5000 - and that's at non-bulk prices). It could be put up by a bunch of semi-skilled workers and a single electrical engineer in about 4 hours.

    There's absolutely no need for the hugely expensive solid metal and plastic gates they're putting up in most stations. Japan's obsession with excessively high quality and high-tech solutions leads to ridiculous situation where simple problems cannot be solved because they over-spec the job to a ridiculous degree, resulting in it never getting done.

  • -1

    CrisGerSan

    Agree it is wonderful that people helped, i am so glad of that.

    I agree mentally ill people who show any signs of being unstable to the point of danger should be insititutionalized, otherwise we are all potential victims.

    Gates is a great idea, simple or expensive, or maybe simple first and better when they can afford them. It is a good example of the difference in cultures to see the same thing happening in the US but no one suggesting gates.

    Japan continues to impress me, and again thanks so much for those kind strangers. So good of them.

  • 1

    gelendestrasse

    I am very thankful that somebody got involved and saved this girl. Kudos to both of them.

    I have to agree that people who are seriously mentally ill have to be confined for their own good and the good of everybody else.

  • -1

    Riceland

    I am glad for the girl she is alive. I hope he would get a jail sentence, children are precious and should be protected.

  • -4

    basroil

    Dennis BauerJan. 07, 2013 - 05:26PM JST

    people can climb or throw kids over the gates, need to address the cause not the symptoms.

    Apparently you're confused as to what full height means. Full height gates go to the roof (all stations have some sort of roof), so how the hell do you throw someone over the roof if there's no gap? Even a 2m gate would be enough to stop 99.99999% of cases. It's cheaper, more effective, and more feasible in results than some stupid program to "solve" psychiatric issue (which will never work since i never has in any country, at least not at a significant level)

  • 0

    Mocheake

    Good thing others were there to help the child. She will probably be traumatized for life by such a terrifying event. This kind of incident has happened at least twice in New York recently and it just goes to show you that it can happen even in places considered really safe. We all have to be as aware of our surroundings as possible.

  • -1

    Elvensilvan

    @basroil

    Just how cheap is a cheap full height gate you kept stating on this thread?

    According to an article I saw on an article somewhere, the contract for installing platform doors for Yurakucho line's 24 stations and train modifications alone already cost 12 billion dollars.

    How many train stations all over Japan are there?

  • -1

    Elvensilvan

    Correction: that's supposed to be in yen, not dollars.

  • -4

    cramp

    christ thats a stupid argument...if your too cheap to install gates, don't have trains...

  • -1

    kjh0166

    He probably should not have been walking streets, very happy to hear people stepped in.

  • 0

    602miko

    a head butt on that @@@@hole

  • -1

    megosaa

    nah, don't bother about installing gates. to quote from loraxおじさん, "let it die, let it die ♪ "

    seriously though, i cannot believe so many apposed to the idea of installing gates.

    How many train stations all over Japan are there?

    how many more cleaners do they need to scrub the flesh off the rails?

    but they won´t stop a lunatic who decided he "wants to kill" someone. Technofixes do not address the issue of dangerous crazies walking among us.

    like putting up the tobacco prices to stop people from smoking, right? IT'S TO MAKE IT HARDER FOR THEM.

  • -1

    Shinjuku 108

    I dont get all the opposition to putting up gates either.

    Let's consider how many of us posting here have stood at the front of the pack behind the yellow line at a train station here in Tokyo (or elsewhere in Japan for that matter) while the train is rolling in.

    The last thing on our minds is worry that there is some lunatic (there are many closet lunatics here) behind us who decides that "I just wanted to kill someone" and we happen to be standing in front of him or her. We are usually zoned out in our smartphones or books or what have you.

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    I am just hoping and praying the poor innocent little girl will somehow get through this cowardly assault.

    The child-abuser deserves to be locked in a dark room, kept in a straight-jacket and subjected to electric-shock treatment every day until he dies in a few years.

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    PS - and I'd much rather have the govt. crack down on those with mental illnesses rather than thinking every station in Japan should have gates put up along the platforms and it will make things safe. It absolutely won't so long as the mentally ill are menacing our streets.

  • 0

    Elvensilvan

    i cannot believe so many apposed to the idea of installing gates.

    What I'm saying is that installing gates on an existing train line along with the platforms would cost several times more than installing gates on new platforms and train lines.

    Also, if you look at the link provided by Goals0, you will see that the station is really quite small, and probably just earns enough for salary and maintenance. There are even lots of "mujin" (unmanned) stations, usually run trains that were "discarded" by other lines.

  • 0

    JA_Cruise

    scary thing, lock him up

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