Police arrest president of bus company over fatal crash
Police on Monday arrested the president of a bus operator over a fatal accident in which seven people were killed and 39 others injured when their bus bound for Tokyo Disneyland crashed on a highway in Fujioka, Gunma Prefecture.
The bus carrying 45 passengers smashed against a roadside wall on the Kanetsu Expressway. Police have already arrested the 43-year-old bus driver, Kazan Kono, who has admitted to dozing off behind the wheel, and charged him with negligent driving resulting in death.
Investigators arrested Yumihide Hariu, the 55-year-old president of the bus operator Rikuentai and confiscated documents and records from the company, in Inzai City, Chiba Prefecture, TV Asahi reported.
Police said he was charged with allowing Kono to use Rikuentai’s name to obtain permits to operate unauthorized bus tours for Chinese tourists, which violates the Road Transportation Law.
Rikuentai’s safety management policies have already been criticized and police believe Kono may have been overworked. There was no relief driver on the bus at the time of the accident, which took place at 4:40 a.m. However, the company has argued that a relief driver is only necessary if the journey is over 670 kilometers. The stated distance of the trip to Tokyo Disneyland was 540 kilometers.