8 dead after epileptic driver in minivan rams into pedestrians in Kyoto

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

  • 3

    gyouza

    It looks awful from TV coverage - hope everyone can recover from this.

  • 1

    Ben Jack

    Six people had cardiac arrests, including the 29-year-old driver and a passenger who had to be pulled out of the wrecked minivan.

    Am I reading this correctly? Both the 29 year old driver and a passenger had cardiac arrests?

    Anyway, terrible accident. I share gyouza's hopes for a speedy recover for all involved.

  • -25

    smithinjapan

    "Rescue officials said the minivan entered a main intersection in Gion, Kyoto’s main geisha district, after ignoring a traffic light, knocking over pedestrians and smashing into an electric pole before stopping. The area was packed with tourists and cherry blossom viewers."

    Ignoring the traffic light, eh? Big surprise. I'm betting the driver and passenger were also likely avoiding seat belt laws, and given that it was cherry blossom season... well... there's a fair chance the driver might have been partaking in a cherry blossom party before hand. All speculation, of course, save for ignoring the light -- but given how many times this kind of thing happens, even during 'driving awareness week', I wouldn't be surprised if I was bang on.

    Despite many people being in critical condition, I hope they all recover as much as possible. I can only imagine what a horrible scene this created.

  • 2

    Ben Jack

    According to the article, the driver had a cardiac arrest. If so, it is quite possible that is the cause of the accident.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    Ben Jack: I'm sure the cardiac arrests were the result of the accident, not vice-versa -- unless some uncanny event saw SIX people have them at the same time, same place. The INJURIES caused the cardiac arrest, it seems.

  • -13

    cactusJack

    Hope he wasn't texting.

  • -10

    WilliB

    They are saying that he rammed a whole lot of other vehicles before running the red light. Does not sound like a texting or drinking accident; more like a mechanical malfunction. Floor mat got stuck on the gas pedal or something? Horrible, anyway.

  • -2

    Blair Herron

    The driver hit those 13 pedestrians and drove away for 200 meters, then smashed into the electric poll.

  • 2

    Ben Jack

    smithinjapan,

    The other cardiac arrests were those of people in their 60's and 70's according to the article kindly provided by Blair Herron. The driver seems to have been around 30. While it certainly is possible he had the cardiac arrest after the accident, it is also pure speculation to suggest he 'wasn't wearing a seatbelt, he was drinking' and whatever other guesses you have. I believe that is called jumping to conclusions. All we know at this point is he went through a red light.

  • 4

    brknarm

    Smith: I really don't understand the seat belt comment. What if the driver/passenger were wearing? While I agree that seat belt laws need to be enforced, I fail to see what difference it would've made for the pedestrians in this incident.

  • -13

    some14some

    mysterious, something similar to Akihabara where the tool was Knife here it is Kgata (minivan) my guess.

  • -4

    Sarah Hibberd

    From what I've seen on the news, this is something the driver did on purpose. He rammed into people at two different pedestrian crossings before hitting the electrical pole later.

    Also, the TV news says he was driving alone and didn't mention a passenger, so I wonder which is correct?

  • 0

    Darren Brannan

    As a person with cardiac issues it is the sort of thing that is always in my mind. It is quite possible the driver had a stroke or an MI and with it being the hottest day so far this spring and blue skies and full blooms, it isn't too much of a mental jump in the hanami direction either. Gion is right around the corner from Maruyama park which is a huge hanami spot. Either way this is an awful, awful accident. Very tragic for all involved and nasty for people who would have seen it. That interesction is a throng and even worse at this time of the year.

  • 0

    Darren Brannan

    Nope. Sounds like he was fleeing after hitting a taxi. http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120412p2a00m0na017000c.html. If that is the case he was plain out of control.

  • 2

    xrc

    They don't really tell you too much in the Japanese News do they?

  • 1

    WilliB

    Darran Brannan:

    " Nope. Sounds like he was fleeing after hitting a taxi. "

    He hit a whole bunch of vehicles, and now they are talking with witnesses on TV who say he looked pale and might even have been unconscious.

  • -2

    Franchesca Miyara Yang

    7 dead now, including the driver. unbelievable.

  • -1

    forzaducati

    It indeed seems the driver had bumped into a taxi, fled the scene with high speed and then causing this horrific accident. Seven people dead now, perhaps just over something trivial as a fender bender.

  • -6

    smithinjapan

    Ben Jack: "While it certainly is possible he had the cardiac arrest after the accident, it is also pure speculation to suggest he 'wasn't wearing a seatbelt, he was drinking' and whatever other guesses you have."

    So you honestly believed that 6 people suddenly had cardiac arrest by chance, in the same spot, at the same time? "Cardiac arrest" is a euphemism for 'their hearts stopped', meaning that due to the accident, and the CRITICAL CONDITION it put them in, they needed to be rescusitated. It is a LOT more reasonable to suggest that perhaps, given the hundreds of incidents you hear about a year, the driver in question was not wearing a seatbelt, or might have been drunk (especially during hanami season!). As for ignoring the red light as very often happens here, we already know that's fact, don't we?

    brknrm: "I really don't understand the seat belt comment. What if the driver/passenger were wearing? While I agree that seat belt laws need to be enforced, I fail to see what difference it would've made for the pedestrians in this incident."

    Read my comment. I said: "Ignoring the traffic light, eh? Big surprise. I'm betting the driver and passenger were also likely avoiding seat belt laws..."

    Now, where did I say the driver wearing a seatbelt or not would have affected the pedestrians he hit? It most certainly would have affected HIM, if his fatal injuries (he's now dead) were the result of not wearing a seatbelt.

    • Moderator

      Please stop making unfounded speculations.

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    Rest in Peace to the poor pedestrians. Gion is such a peaceful part of Japan, I can't believe this happened. Moron drivers really have to stop running red lights - it is a problem out of control that I see DAILY - and it is tragic it has led to 6 innocent people dying.

  • 6

    Ben Jack

    Please stop making unfounded speculations.

    Thank you. That was my point all along.

  • 0

    Ben Jack

    By the way, it seems it is possible that he had the cardiac arrest before hitting the people. In addition, we don't have enough infomation yet to know whether he was ignoring a red light or went through it for some other reason. You might want to consider less venting.

  • 1

    Disillusioned

    Wow! The speculation is flowing freely over this one! 7 dead now. Terrible!

  • 2

    tallgaijin

    Sad to hear in such beautiful place.. Were any foreign people impacted? News does not cover this part. Also family of driver accepted he had seizures and also agreed this was 100% their fault as they should have revoked his driving license. RIP.

  • 0

    Blair Herron

    Were any foreign people impacted?

    Yes.

    チャン・エバChang Eva(not sure the spelling, Australian 57)

    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0412/OSK201204120075.html

  • 1

    Blair Herron

    Were any foreign people impacted?

    Yes.

    [injured]

    チャン・エバChang Eva(not sure the spelling, Australian 57)

    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0412/OSK201204120075.html

  • 0

    Kokuzi

    In the TBS News Bird TV report at 19:00 a Japanese eyewitness stated that 'a group of foreign tourists' were included among the victims. The TV announcer also mentioned that a 'female Australian tourist' was one of the victims, but did not specify 'injured' or 'deceased.' A tragic accident, regardless of nationality, etc...

  • -1

    Nicky Washida

    I am guessing all the comments above were made before the article was updated with the epilepsy angle?

    This takes me back to the incident where the crane driver had a fit and killed 6 children. Is it not illegal to drive here with epilepsy?

  • 0

    some14some

    I am guessing all the comments above were made before the article was updated with the epilepsy angle?

    that's true, so we should disregard thumbs down count. RIP and sympathy to injured.

  • -6

    tmarie

    Fujisaki’s sister said that he had suffered from epilepsy and sometimes blacked out in the past and that his family had asked him not to drive,

    Why on earth was he allowed to drive? Like Nicky, I was reminded of the truck driver that killed those kids a few years ago. That's 14 dead people now who died at the hands of people who KNEW they were ill and shouldn't have been driving. Full medical disclosure when getting or renewing a license?

    Horrific. For all involved. I am sure his family is suffering knowing this could have been preventable.

  • -3

    Frungy

    tmarieApr. 12, 2012 - 08:29PM JST Why on earth was he allowed to drive? Like Nicky, I was reminded of the truck driver that killed those kids a few years ago. That's 14 dead people now who died at the hands of people who KNEW they were ill and shouldn't have been driving. Full medical disclosure when getting or renewing a license?

    I'd guess that it's because epilepsy is, in most cases, a controllable condition and all the epileptics I know have symptoms before the seizure starts (ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes), that allow them time to pull over/find a clear space/put down their coffee mug/etc.

    There's no reason that epileptics shouldn't be able to drive safely. At a guess (and this is only a guess), I'd say that the heart-attack started first, then the epileptic fit triggered in response to that, and his foot got stuck on the accelerator.

    It's a tragic accident, but it is an accident, and the driver isn't automatically to blame or an evil person.

  • -6

    tmarie

    It is a tragic accident but sorry, plenty of epileptics can't control their fits or deal with them once they start. Why not take the safe route and state "no driving" if they're known to have issues - clearly this guy did as his family asked him not to drive. 14 people in a few years is a lot of tragic deaths that could have been prevented.

    Heck, I don't think people on most meds should be allowed to drive.

  • -3

    Nicky Washida

    There's no reason that epileptics shouldn't be able to drive safely

    Sorry Frungy, but tmarie just pointed out 14 reasons why epileptics cant drive safely.

    I renewed my driving licence last week. Medical declarations are entirely self-declared. I was so worried about my deafness and whether I was safe to drive or not that I had a private interview with someone about it (apparently if I can hear 90 decibels at 10 metres with both ears I am ok, and that was fine for me so I got my licence.) But if I thought I was a danger to other people no way would I drive. Like drinking, it is just not worth the risk.

  • 1

    Frungy

    tmarieApr. 12, 2012 - 08:51PM JST It is a tragic accident but sorry, plenty of epileptics can't control their fits or deal with them once they start. Why not take the safe route and state "no driving" if they're known to have issues - clearly this guy did as his family asked him not to drive. 14 people in a few years is a lot of tragic deaths that could have been prevented.

    Fair enough comment. I'm just saying that it wasn't necessarily because of the epilepsy. It's pretty strange that he went into cardiac arrest as well, and indicates that the situation may have been more complex than just epilepsy.

    Heck, I don't think people on most meds should be allowed to drive.

    Definitely agreed! Any medication that causes drowsyness should be an instant disqualifier. Of course because of all the hayfever in Japan and people popping antihistamines (the Japanese antihistamines that don't have the soporific effect balanced by a stimulant) this would disqualify a lot of Japanese from driving for a large chunk of the year.

  • 2

    YongYang

    Such medical conditions must void a person's license. It is only about a year since the crane driver killed the children walking to school, also a known epileptic. An absolutely preventable lose of life. Very sad. Very preventable. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies to those who lost family, friends, loved ones.

  • 1

    ThonTaddeo

    @Tmarie, I agree; an epileptic fit can happen at any time, and when it does, anyone in the vicinity of that driver is in mortal danger, as we're seeing with this incident.

    You almost can't blame people for insisting on driving cars when they shouldn't -- society is built aronud the car and offers little recompense to those who aren't allowed to take advantage of that.

    What we really need is a big tax break or other income subsidy given to everyone who isn't permitted to drive. Not being able to operate an automobile means that you can never have any job that requires a car to do, or to get to (unless you're so rich that you've got a chauffeur), and even in Japan, with its exemplary train and bus system, there are still huge numbers of such jobs. I know that there's a tax break of about Y20,000 if your eyesight is below 0.6 in one eye (the threshold for driving), but that's a drop in the bucket when you think of all the things you lose access to.

    Multiply that by 10 or 50 and give all these people an incentive to not be on the roads.

    In the USA you see elderly people whose eyesight and reaction time have dipped far below what you need for sage driving clinging to their licenses because life is so difficult if you don't have one. That's something that needs to be remedied.

    If you've got epilepsy or impaired vision or any other handicap that makes driving dangerous, I say, OK, here's some money to make up for the opportunities that are being denied you. Maybe a rent subsidy so that they can live in the big city and take the train. Maybe a program where supermarkets will once again make deliveries, like they did before cars became the standard.

    Impossible in these budget-stricken times, I'm sure, but it's an idea.

  • -3

    SwissToni

    Surely whether he should have been driving or not is advice the driver should get from his doctor. There seems to be a diagnosis and no indication he wasnt being treated. There are many drivers out there who's epilepsy is treated and under control. Best to leave the police to do their job and see if he was driving illegally or is also an unfortunate victim.

  • -13

    tmarie

    Society in Japan isn't built around cars though - more so in downtown Kyoto! And more so, you can already can apply for a discount card for public transportation if you have a disability - and I think this counts as one if you are unable to drive. Thing is, people don't want to give up their freedom - which I can 100% understand but they are risking not only their life, but others.

    I don't drive when on meds because I don't want to injury myself or others - I stated before I am all for a ban on meds and driving and got thumbs down galore. Sorry but if you can't drink, why are drugs any different? People suffer from side affects, others don't but why not be safe about it so tragedies like this don't happen?

    Yes, some jobs are limited to those without licenses but where do you draw the line? Some folks want to be flight attendants but can't because they are too short. Some folks want to be pilots but can't because of eye sight. Some folks want to get into certain unis to get a certain job but can't because they aren't smart enough...

    While I agree with allowing them a discount for not being able to drive, this discount/free thing is going to really put some pressure on budgets. I'm not sure if it is a country wide thing but I know that Osaka allows those over 65 to ride the subways for free. Personally, I don't agree with them getting it for free - they get pensions, medical... which won't be around for those of us paying full fare now!

  • 0

    Ben Jack

    This is a tragedy. I feel for all of the victims and their families and this includes the family of the driver who had tried to convince him to stop driving.

  • -10

    Elbuda Mexicano

    This stupid bastard knew he had a condition which makes it ILLEGAL to drive in any country, if you have epilepsy and you get a seizure this is the horrible mess that can happen, I feel so sorry for the innocent victims, but thank god this idiot fool did die, because he took the lives of so many innocent people down there in Kyoto, may this selfish bastard burn and burn in hell for all of eternity AMEN!

  • 0

    Himajin

    I just saw NHK news and the docs had a press conference and said they told him not to drive, after they showed his family saying that they told him not to drive but he did anyway.

    In the USA you see elderly people whose eyesight and reaction time have dipped far below what you need for sage driving clinging to their licenses because life is so difficult if you don't have one. That's something that needs to be remedied.

    Hi, Thon. It's state by state, evidently. I am a member of the Alzheimer Association's forum, and some states require doctors to inform the DMV when a patient is diagnosed with a condition incompatible with driving, and some leave it to the families...the doc says 'No more driving' and the family somehow has to enforce it.

    Japan is like that, they have centers where those over 70 go to get their licenses. Even with a diagnosis of dementia MIL got her license, she passed the test (AD patients can often 'rise to the occasion' and pass a test and then revert back to their daily level of alertness) but was given counseling saying she 'shouldn't drive'. Until Japan (and all 50 states) makes the reporting of such diagnoses mandatory, the possibility of accidents remains. Many cities in the US have 'senior buses' that they can ride for $2 a ride, perhaps Japan could institute something similar. There are so many places that are hard to live in if you don't drive.

  • 1

    Pukey2

    Have to agree with tmarie - he should have had his driving license taken away. He was advised by relatives and doctors to stop driving. I don't mean to discriminate against epileptics, but should partially blind people and 100 year old people get behind the wheel too? It was absolutely selfish of him to do so, knowing that an accident could happen because of his condition.

    I saw this on TV this afternoon and found it odd that they were using the expression 5人心肺停止. If people are dead, then say they're dead. I think we only need to know whether the driver had a cardiac arrest or not since it may have resulted in the accident. The others died because they were hit by a car. Very strange.

    Swisstoni:

    Surely whether he should have been driving or not is advice the driver should get from his doctor.

    Read the last paragraph. Doctors aren't there to annoy patients.

    There are many drivers out there who's (sic) epilepsy is treated and under control.

    That's like saying you're allowed to drive even if you've only had a few drinks and you've never had an accident before.

  • 3

    Mirai Hayashi

    This reminds me of the epileptic crane operator incident. I think back then I commented that chronic epileptics shouldn't be allowed to operate heavy equipment or drive on public roads....my stance remains the same for this precise reason.

  • -16

    tmarie

    The reporting, from my understanding, is based the laws of "traffic deaths". From my understanding, if they had heart attacks, they won't be reported as traffic accident deaths and will be recorded at "heart attack" victims. Which is why I roll my eyes when traffic accident death report and stats are released.

    Many cities in the US have 'senior buses' that they can ride for $2 a ride, perhaps Japan could institute something similar. Don't know about where you live but where I live there are cheap buses for the elderly. And again, in some places, they get free subway and bus fare.

    • Moderator

      Stay on topic please.

  • -6

    ExportExpert

    People with eplepsy should not be allowed to drive or operate heavy machinery it's that simple, sympathy for the victims as that what the are.

    I hope this guy gets multiple counts of life in prisonment and the govt makes it illegal for elieptics to drive or obtain licences, doesnt the crane driver that killed all those kids storyring any bells.

    A good friend of mine was seriously injured about 25 years ago by one of these drivers and at that time there was talk of banning them from driving but nothing has ever been done.

    I belive an aussie female tourist was killed in this accident today too

    RIP to all those killed by this rswipe .

    • Moderator

      Please note that the driver is dead.

  • 0

    presto345

    Maybe just my opinion but epilepsy is a life threatening disease. Threatening not just to the patient but as this accident proves to others as well. The patient had been advised and asked to refrain from driving but apparently ignored it. He is in no position now to clarify his decision or take responsibility for that and what he caused. Medication to control bouts is not reliable and I can't understand that there are those who counter that fact. It does not matter what the statistics say about epileptic drivers: the disease can be controlled. Physicians and their patients alike know that when an attack strikes they have no control and driving a motorized vehicle that vehicle will turn into a murderous weapon. Each occurrence is one too many. This was a very, very tragic accident which can not and should not be voiced over with the excuse epileptics have a right to hold a driver's license.

  • -16

    tmarie

    Wow export. Harsh. I don't think he set out to kill anyone. Like the driver who killed those poor kids, I would have felt sorry for him too. Being sick and accidentally killing people and then having to live with that for the rest of your life must be torture. If the law isn't going to demand that they can't drive, I can't blame them for thinking it is okay. Blame the law for this. Not exactly proactive the way it is - and it really needs to.

  • -1

    tamanegi

    What a terrible day.

    Lots of folk in Kyoto enjoying the good weather and cherry blossoms. Nearly went there today myself.

    My prayers for the deceased and their familes. Whether it's epilepsy, alcohol, underage etc people who shouldn't be driving will always find a way.

  • 0

    vinnyfav

    I believe epileptic people are already restricted from driving under the current laws, or at least, so it says in the article. What's unfortunate is the fact that people feel discriminated against as epileptics that they go out their way to avoid mentioning it so as to not get stigmatised. I mean, it's understandable that they don't want to feel outcasted, but they should certainly have spared a thought for others, as this very case is an epitome of the dangers of being actively epileptic and driving.

    At the same time, Japan needs to work on some of her taboos. Some things need to be aired out and discussed, and no longer kept under the carpet to breed such mistrust and discrimination. If society was more understanding to epileptic people and actually offered a helping hand to them, I doubt they would feel so side-lined, and be more willing to acknowledge their own shortcomings and take action that will not put people around them at risk.

  • 4

    Pukey2

    I believe epileptic people are already restricted from driving under the current laws, or at least, so it says in the article.

    Like all drivers are supposed to stop for pedestrians crossing the road when the pedestrian lights are green. Fat chance in Japan.

  • -8

    smithinjapan

    The original story did not mention the epilepsy at all, only that he ran the red light and hit a bunch of pedestrians before hitting the pole (didn't mention him continuing 200 meters before hitting said pole). Now it's got a LOT more detail, with people adding info from other news sources, and it's quite clear that he should NEVER have been driving in the first place. So, perhaps no alcohol, and still no mention about seatbelts, but we DO know he was asked numerous times not to drive but did anyway, and now 8 people are dead. The article clearly states (now) that epileptics are often discriminated against and hide it when getting their licenses, but since it was clear this man had it, and it seems he was being pressured not to drive, why was he allowed to have the license anyway? Did he not have an attack for two years prior to getting it (or getting it renewed)?

    As for speculating or 'guessing', I don't see what's wrong with it when there is so little information in the original story. I wasn't jumping to wild conclusions, I was speculating based on many cases in the past where similar incidents have occurred. What's more, when an accident like this occurs in the future you can bet there might be people wondering if the guy was sick. Why, because this is repetitive (the article even states it).

  • 1

    ppokkiya

    It's a sad truth that even if you do have seizures, some doctors and families will let it slide as long as you keep taking your meds (or say that you are). It is so very dangerous if the person that suffers from it does not take their meds and lives a lifestyle that increases the risk of seizures.

    I had a minor seizure disorder for most of my life, and even though the meds had a lot of nasty side effects, I took them to protect myself and everyone around me. Someone in my family still has a more severe case, and he's nearly killed two or three people because he says he forgot to take his meds and then almost got behind the wheel with them! Loved one or not, if they know they have it and they aren't following the treatment for it, they need to be kept off of the roads.

    My deepest sympathies and prayers to the victims and their families.

  • 1

    presto345

    Like all drivers are supposed to stop for pedestrians crossing the road when the pedestrian lights are green. Fat chance in Japan.

    Maybe OT, but this is so true. Even when the lights for pedestrians are not green their safe crossing should be assured and respected and drivers here don't do that. This is something this country with its primitive road system needs to work on.

  • 1

    Blair Herron

    Japan in the past had some of the world’s strictest laws pertaining to epilepsy and driving, requiring all patients to be seizure-free for up to five years before being issued an incense. This changed in 2002 under the Road Traffic Law, and Japan now allows those who have been seizure-free for 2 years to drive.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epilepsy_and_driving#cite_note-facultywashington-8

    The police has not said the cause of the accident is due to his illness, but his sister mentioned that he had seizure once or twice a month lately. As Himajin said, the docs had a press conference and said they told him not to drive

  • 0

    Matthew Simon

    The family asked him not to drive? Thats it? I understand wanting to be independent while having a disability but now many more lives have been cut short due to his selfishness. And his family will suffer financially because of this now I imagine.

    Rest in peace to those who lost their lives and to my condolences to their loved ones.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    It's very confusing when you look at a list of postings when the article has been changed/updated in some way. I've learned to assume a change happened when people early on are making what seems to be ridiculous assumptions based on the article as it currently stands.

    The evidence given is consistant with a seizure. Once a driver is having a seizure, cars will be hit, people will be hit, traffic lights will be run, and poles will be hit.

    People with epilepsy are often discriminated against in Japan and they often hide the problem, even when they get a driver’s license. Japan bans them from driving unless medical authorities confirm they have not had attacks in the past two years.

    I wouldn't call it "discrimination." I'd call it a no-brainer safety precaution based on facts. Epileptics should not be operating a vehicle of ANY kind, even a bicycle. They have no control over when an attack might happen and when it does happen they have no control over what they were doing just prior to the attack.

  • 0

    kanagawaniceguy4101

    What a tragedy. While expressing my condolences to their families, I hope measures be taken to prevent people with such illness from obtaining licenses. By the way, my concern is whether this can happen to train drivers and pilots. Gee! that will be catastrophic.

  • 0

    Cos

    The family asked him not to drive? Thats it?

    If he is 30, they can't lock him in his room. Particularly if he lives on his own and doesn't tell them exactly where he is employed. Well, that was not any job, he was doing deliveries. Maybe there should be a medical visit before starting a job requiring that kind of activity or using machines and the doctor could have access to the medical file and indicates if he allows or not the driving/operating, keeping the person's privacy. That's not only about epilepsy, but for persons that take certain medications or any condition.

  • -2

    oginome

    The reporting, from my understanding, is based the laws of "traffic deaths". From my understanding, if they had heart attacks, they won't be reported as traffic accident deaths and will be recorded at "heart attack" victims. Which is why I roll my eyes when traffic accident death report and stats are released.

    Um, tmarie if someone dies of a heart attack, they die of a heart attack, even if they're driving a car. Others who die as a result of this driver having a heart attack are listed as 'traffic deaths' - there is absolutely nothing dishonest there. Canada's traffic death rate is many times higher than Japan's.

    I don't drive when on meds because I don't want to injury myself or others - I stated before I am all for a ban on meds and driving and got thumbs down galore. Sorry but if you can't drink, why are drugs any different? People suffer from side affects, others don't but why not be safe about it so tragedies like this don't happen?

    You correctly state that some suffer no side effects, so therefore it needs to be looked at on a case by case basis, and a blanked ban is ludicrous. What about people who have been on anti-depressants for years, and suffer no drowsiness or hyperactivity? I think it is much more dangerous to let a non-medicated severely depressed person out driving when medication would help alleviate their depression. Judging by your logic of how some people don't meet the criteria for certain jobs, do you therefore think that people with mental illnesses shouldn't be allowed to drive?

  • 0

    Jermane H

    The television coverage for this article was intense?

  • -2

    whiskeysour

    The man killed 8 people looks like the family will pay reparations for the victims.

    It's very sad. He hide his Epilepsy to make a decent wage ! ! ! Very sad !!!!!

    I bet he faced alot of discrimination for being disabled.

  • 0

    combinibento

    Just watched the morning news on this and it showed an interview with the driver's sister,standing in the doorway holding tissue up to her face. She goes right on record saying how they all warned him not to drive, how he has been having numerous seizures lately, and that he still insisted it was OK. Wow, good job, sis!

  • 4

    Himajin

    Don't know about where you live but where I live there are cheap buses for the elderly. And again, in some places, they get free subway and bus fare.

    I'm talking about the Council for Aging system that picks them up at their front door, takes them to appointments or shopping, and then drops them off at their house again.

    The family asked him not to drive? Thats it?

    His doctors forbade him to drive, but as Japanese law does not give anyone the right to report to the DMV it couldn't be enforced. They relied on the young man's honesty, but they showed his driver's license paperwork on NHK this morning, and he lied, saying he had no illnesses on the form. Direct reporting by medical personnel to the DMV is the way to go, in my opinion.

  • -2

    NetNinja

    Lawsuit!

    Doubt the insurance company will cover this completely.

  • 2

    nec123a

    If he drove with epilepsy then he is culpable and ethically reprehensible. I have sympathy for people with incurable conditions but there is a reason that laws are in place to lessen the negative impact that the impaired place society in when doing dangerous tasks (and operating a 2-tonne moving object is a a dangerous task).

  • -15

    tmarie

    Um, tmarie if someone dies of a heart attack, they die of a heart attack, even if they're driving a car. Others who die as a result of this driver having a heart attack are listed as 'traffic deaths' - there is absolutely nothing dishonest there. Canada's traffic death rate is many times higher than Japan's.

    Um, if said person mows down a bunch of people it should be counted as a traffic death - and so should any of those. he hit people BEFORE the heart attack. This is exactly why Japan has such a "low" rate of traffic deaths. The numbers don't actually reflect deaths caused by traffic accidents. Thought that was pretty easy to understand from my post so making comparisons just doesn't work.

  • -15

    tmarie

    I'm talking about the Council for Aging system that picks them up at their front door, takes them to appointments or shopping, and then drops them off at their house again.

    Any idea how much that would cost the tax payers? There is a bus system, they get cheaper train rates, movie tickets... For the most part, the retired folks have the most money. I don't think asking them to pay their transportation is unfair. If anything, unfair to burden any already broken system with more.

    You correctly state that some suffer no side effects, so therefore it needs to be looked at on a case by case basis, and a blanked ban is ludicrous. What about people who have been on anti-depressants for years, and suffer no drowsiness or hyperactivity? I think it is much more dangerous to let a non-medicated severely depressed person out driving when medication would help alleviate their depression. Judging by your logic of how some people don't meet the criteria for certain jobs, do you therefore think that people with mental illnesses shouldn't be allowed to drive? 14 deaths so far because of people driving even though they shouldn't have been. I am sure there are many more not reported. Selfish, selfish. Judging by your logic we should just take our chances and allow everyone to drive - which clearly is not that case.

  • 0

    oginome

    Um, if said person mows down a bunch of people it should be counted as a traffic death - and so should any of those. he hit people BEFORE the heart attack. This is exactly why Japan has such a "low" rate of traffic deaths. The numbers don't actually reflect deaths caused by traffic accidents. Thought that was pretty easy to understand from my post so making comparisons just doesn't work.

    Um, no, because not every traffic accident in Japan is caused by someone having a heart attack - LMAO, that's far from typical. And again, the people the person having the heart attack killed with his car ARE counted as traffic deaths, so no there is no fabrication behind Japan's low rate of traffic deaths - it really is many times less than Canada. Comparisons do work - Japan is a safer country than Canada.

    14 deaths so far because of people driving even though they shouldn't have been. I am sure there are many more not reported. Selfish, selfish. Judging by your logic we should just take our chances and allow everyone to drive - which clearly is not that case.

    Oh dear, tmarie, perhaps you should go back and read the post you are responding to? I said your assertion that a blanket ban on people driving who take medication is ridiculous, since not everyone becomes 'drowsy' or 'hyperactive' from cough drops, and there are people who have been on medication such as anti-depressants for YEARS and suffer no adverse side affects, in fact, they would probably be more of a danger on the roads if they weren't on their medication - and yet you say they should have their rights to drive be taken from them? Selfish, selfish.

  • 2

    Patrick Hagger

    Praying for the families of this tragic event. It is amazing how ignorance can come out in the name of compassion for society based solely on the lack of information. This should not be looked at as an attack on people born with health issues, no one impared should be driving. There should already be safe guards in place to protect the public, but in reality no matter how much protection the government attempt to provide there will always be those who oppose the safe guards. There needs to be a system in place to maintain health reports of those how have conditions that can effect their driving skills. It is illegal to drive under the influence of legal medicines.

  • 0

    oginome

    Um, if said person mows down a bunch of people it should be counted as a traffic death - and so should any of those. he hit people BEFORE the heart attack. This is exactly why Japan has such a "low" rate of traffic deaths. The numbers don't actually reflect deaths caused by traffic accidents. Thought that was pretty easy to understand from my post so making comparisons just doesn't work.

    Oh and tmarie, if someone has a heart attack after they get hit by a car or drive their car into someone, it is NOT disingenous to say they died of a heart attack - it's the truth.

  • 2

    ebisen

    People with epilepsy are often discriminated against in Japan and they often hide the problem, even when they get a driver’s license.

    DooooH that's not discrimination. Seeing that they can cause such a huge loss of life, it is only natural to ban them from operating motorized vehicles!!! Don't tell me it's safe, in two years, 15 people were killed in two separate accidents, that's enough to call for a total ban.

  • -1

    Elbuda Mexicano

    This selfish bastard is bloody murderer and now these poor tourists died because of this selfish stupid bastard!

  • 1

    Balefire

    ebisen, although I agree that it's not discrimination to prevent those with uncontrollable epilepsy from driving, those with epilepsy are indeed often discriminated against: it is often a reason for denying them jobs that would not be affected by seizures, even if their symptoms are controlled. Merely having the condition, regardless of how mild or how well controlled by medication, can be a stigma that prevents hiring for any job at all.

    Incidentally, I saw on the TV news last night that the driver's seizures seem to have been brought about as the result of a traffic accident some years ago in which he was the victim, rather than by a congenital issue. The impression I got is that this was at least partly the motivation for his family not to have taken a stronger stance against him driving. I'm looking for further information/confirmation about that with no luck so far.

    Nevertheless, he shouldn't have been driving, obviously, nor should he have been doing a job that required him to make deliveries by car, nor should he have lied on his license application. I doubt that his victims or their families are likely to have very much sympathy for him regardless of his past misfortunes.

  • 3

    frontandcentre

    Thon Thaddeo:

    You almost can't blame people for insisting on driving cars when they shouldn't -- society is built aronud the car and offers little recompense to those who aren't allowed to take advantage of that.

    Sorry, but I think you CAN blame someone who was prone to epileptic fits and was warned not to drive by various people. There are plenty of other jobs that he could have done which wouldn't have put his life, and those of others, in danger. His employers had better warm up to do plenty of bowing as well. After that crane incident, you'd have thought anyone employing drivers would have been extra careful. Clearly the checks aren't strict enough.

    All in all, very sad indeed

  • 2

    frontandcentre

    People with epilepsy are often discriminated against in Japan and they often hide the problem, even when they get a driver’s license.

    That's like saying it's discriminatory that blind people aren't allowed to be bus drivers. This is an issue of personal responsibility, as well as careful monitoring of people who are applying for driving licences.

    I'm really sorry for people with epilepsy, but this country has excellent public transport (at least in cities) and driving isn't the only job that Shingo Fujisaki could have done. Epileptics should be banned from driving altogether, as a matter of public safety.

  • 3

    kitzrow

    I have not read all the comments. It is quite obvious that when this individual went to get his driver's license that he made no mention of having epilepsy. I am not sure if they even ask if there is a disability, but if they do .. this guy lied. Maybe he needed a license in a bad way for his work to support his family.

    I grew up with epilepsy around me as my sister suffered from it. She would often have that blank look before she went into a seizure. One time I caught her falling into our pantry, placed her on the floor and used my finger by mistake so that she would not bite her tongue. I am very lucky I did not lose that finger. The sad part was after she came out of it, she never remembered having it.

    This story is tragic and once again confirms my fears when I go walking and I am on a main road. I sometimes wonder what I would do if a vehicle lost control for whatever reason.

  • 3

    2020hindsights

    whiskeysour

    It's very sad. He hide his Epilepsy to make a decent wage ! ! ! Very sad !!!!!

    I bet he faced alot of discrimination for being disabled.

    Yes, but he didn't need to hide his epilepsy; he should have not been driving. To make a decent wage? Are you kidding?

  • 0

    Weasel

    I'm just wondering why Fujisaki's family didn't notify the police - or at the every least, the employer of what they knew? Yeah, the boy would have gotten blacklisted, but that was a time bomb just waiting to occur. Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few - or the one.

  • 1

    ReformedBasher

    If the driver was not dead, I'm sure he would be looking at jail time. Wasn't the crane driver charged that time?

    @ExportExpert

    I belive an aussie female tourist was killed in this accident today too

    I feel sorry for this woman's family. And I hope it was quick.

    That said, why are you writing this? It would be just as terrible if the woman was Japanese.

    FWIW, I don't think ppl with a medical condition that may cause them to have an accident should be allowed to drive. I would have thought that to be common sense but apparently it's not?

  • -1

    FightingViking

    I have to agree with Balefire. Epilepsy is something one does not disclose, not only when seeking work but also in general. Eplieptics are definitely discriminated against in this country. It's just a pity he had to find a "delivery" job instead of a "desk" job which wouldn't have involved any kind of driving.

  • 2

    timeon

    it's not he was advised not to drive and it's not about discrimination. he broke the law on purpose (not allowed to have a license if you have epilepsy attacks in the last 2 years), he lied about it when he went to driving school and got the license (you have to declare all these conditions, they still let you get the license but you have to go for periodic checks, get ok from the doctor, etc. I just got my license and I signed all those papers). I'm sorry for his family's loss, but he was a criminal and killed 7 innocent people.

  • 0

    Himajin

    Any idea how much that would cost the tax payers?

    If done under the auspices of kaigo houken, it shouldn't cost the taxpayers anything extra.

  • 1

    Balefire

    timeon, just in case it's not clear from my post, I entirely agree with you about his culpability.

    I've had a license here for a long time, and I've signed those papers, too. If I had, or if I should develop, such a condition that might impair my ability to drive, I wouldn't lie about it. His crime is well beyond the typical professional negligence charge that drivers get pretty much automatically when they cause injuries or death, because he did indeed, as you say, break the law on purpose by lying about his condition.

    I was commenting only about discrimination against epileptics in general and specifically in employment, since it had been brought up.

    This criminal driver's issue is another thing entirely, and his behavior is unforgivable.

    Not that I think it would actually work correctly in all or even most cases, but there's a good case to be made for requiring a doctor's certification of a prospective driver's freedom from physical/mental impairment as a condition of getting or renewing a license. It would at least be a little more reliable than mere self-reporting, IMO.

  • -5

    tmarie

    Um, no, because not every traffic accident in Japan is caused by someone having a heart attack - LMAO, that's far from typical. Perhaps YOU could read what was written if you think that is what I said?

    Hima, it would cost to get the program up and running, to buy most buses/cars, hire drivers, pay for gas....

  • 0

    almxx

    This tells me that every vehicle made from now on should have automatic computer controlled braking ability as standard equipment.

  • 1

    teflon.gloves

    Cardiac arrest is something that often happens to a person after an extreme loss of blood. Some of you are not watching enough TV methinks. Bones, ER, and Gray's Anatomy might be worth watching?

    Japan has had a series of deadly crashes in recent months in which the drivers had epilepsy.

    Is two a series or am I missing something?

    You know, it looks like a lot of people knew he was driving illegally. For failing to report him to either his company or police, especially after that crane driver killed those kids, I hope they all get sued into poverty by the surviving victims.

  • -1

    oginome

    Perhaps YOU could read what was written if you think that is what I said?

    And perhaps you could read what I said that if someone dies of a heart attack as a result of a car accident, listing the death as a heart attack is NOT disinegenous or a fabrication.

  • 0

    bookowls

    Not allowing epilepy sufferers to drive is just plain common sense!! Heart goes out to the familes of those lost. The driving laws need to be toughened for the safety of all.

  • 0

    Brian Wheway

    yes folks it was bad, I was their! if we had not gone for some dinner in town we could have been wrapped up in it !! lucky me! you should have seen the cross road junction there was lots of shopping bags,food every where and car bits where he smashed into other cars (well it looked like it) RIP to those who lost there lives yesterday.

  • 1

    Carcharodon

    Come on Japan today! this story has evolved and other news agencies are reporting something very different, yet here the version remains the initial report!

    The epilepsy angle is barking up the wrong tree people, that apparently wasn't a factor in this accident. (not that isn't a serious issue in itself, but it's not the major issue here)

    What is being reported elsewhere is that he did not have a seizure , it is more likely he freaked out with disastrous consequences, he crashed into the taxi and panicked and ran, he reversed and then took off honking his horn along the narrow street before taking out the pedestrians and finally hitting the power pole. What person having a seizure can reverse, then go forwards while the honking the horn?
    He was weak, selfish and pathetic and he took out innocent people.

  • 0

    Balefire

    Carcharadon, I've been watching those news stories too, and it does appear as if the epilepsy doesn't apply to causing this accident.

    Several witnesses' statements and video clips indicate that after hitting the cab and backing up, he was steering around stopped cars in front of him, as well as around a bus half-way through the intersection, honked his horn at least once, and then after apparently recognizing that he couldn't steer clear around one final car, briefly hit his brakes just before ramming the utility pole.

    It certainly seems as if he panicked and then tried to escape in an extremely unsafe and callous manner.

    How/why he ended up with cardiac arrest hasn't been discussed much on the news I've watched so far. I'll be very interested in the results of the autopsy and police investigation.

Login to leave a comment

OR
  • African Speaking Sales manager

    African Speaking Sales manager
    JPC TRADE CO.,LTD. (株式会社JPC)、Tokyo
    Salary: ¥200,000 ~ ¥450,000 / Month Negotiable Basic Salary + Incentives
  • Recruitment / HR Generalist

    Recruitment / HR Generalist
    Temple University, Japan Campus - テンプル大学ジャパンキャンパス、Tokyo
    Salary: Commensurate with experience plus transportation from/to TUJ
  • Program Assistant

    Program Assistant
    Temple University, Japan Campus - テンプル大学ジャパンキャンパス、Tokyo
    Salary: Commensurate with experience plus transportation from/to TUJ
  • Portuguese Speaking Sales Manager

    Portuguese Speaking Sales Manager
    Autocom Japan (オートコムジャパン株式会社)、Kanagawa
    Salary: ¥270,000 ~ ¥800,000 / Month Commission Based
  • Interim Administrative Systems Support Lead

    Interim Administrative Systems Support Lead
    Temple University, Japan Campus - テンプル大学ジャパンキャンパス、Tokyo
    Salary: Commensurate with experience plus transportation from/to TUJ

More in National

View all

View all