Written with extracts translated from The Mainichi
November 29 2020
TOKYO – Around 12:45 on the afternoon of 29th November, a man fell from his platform at Toyocho Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line in Toyo 4, Koto-ku, Tokyo, and collided with a train (10-car train) from Nakano to Nishi-Funabashi. The man, believed to be visually impaired in his 60s living in Edogawa Ward, was taken to a hospital, but was soon confirmed dead. A platform door was installed at the station to prevent it from falling, but the door remained open before the start of operation.
According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Fukagawa Police Department, a security camera on the platform shows a man walking with a white cane on Platform 1, stepping off and falling, and there is also sighting information. An investigation proceeds regarding the situation in detail, assuming that the man accidentally fell.
According to the Tokyo Metro, a platform door was installed at Toyocho Station in early November. To operate the platform doors, the train doors and platform doors must be aligned. It took time to adjust the sensors to determine the stop position of the train, and the operation was scheduled to start in February 2021. In response to this accident, the Tozai Line suspended operation between Kayabacho and Kasai Station for about an hour.
Stations with platform doors installed and not in operation “Frequent accidents”
There are no end to accidents in which visually impaired people fall from railroad platforms and die. Although maintenance of platform doors is effective in preventing accidents, the current situation is that it is slow to progress.
In January in Tokyo, a male office worker (53) fell from the platform of the Keihin Tohoku Line and died at JR Nippori Station (Arakawa Ward). It seems that the man was walking alone with a white cane and fell. In July, a masseuse man (51) accidentally fell from his home at Asagaya Station (Suginami Ward) on the JR Chuo Line and died. A security camera showed a man walking on the edge of the platform stepping off. No platform doors were installed in either case.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, as of the end of March 2020, only 10% of stations with platform doors have been installed, mainly stations with many users. In November, the government announced a policy to set the maintenance target for five years from FY2009 to line 3000. Currently, when converted to track numbers, 1953 line has already been maintained, and about 1000 lines will be added.
Hirokazu Ichihara, Executive Director of the Tokyo Metropolitan Welfare Association for the Blind, said, “There are many accidents at stations that have installed platform doors but are not yet in operation. Visually impaired people operate when the white cane hits the platform doors. It may be misunderstood that it is. I want you to start operation as soon as possible after installing it. Before the operation, some stations have guards, so I would like to ask for measures to prevent falls during the platform door transition period. “