2 critically hurt after elderly man crashes car at Tokyo junction

Police officers at the scene of the traffic accident in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo yesterday. The car, driven by a man in his 80s, struck pedestrians at a busy intersection and then hit a garbage truck.
Police officers at the scene of the traffic accident in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo yesterday. The car, driven by a man in his 80s, struck pedestrians at a busy intersection and then hit a garbage truck.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO • Two people were critically injured and eight others hurt yesterday after a car ploughed into them at a busy intersection in Tokyo, police said.

The vehicle, driven by a man in his 80s, struck the pedestrians at a pedestrian crossing and then hit a garbage truck in the busy Ikebukuro district of Tokyo, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

A woman in her 20s, and a girl of around two years old who is believed to be her daughter, were both in a coma after being hit in the collision, local media reported.

The collision occurred at around 12.30pm local time near Higashi-Ikebukuro subway station, which serves the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line and carries about 43,000 passengers daily. The area is close to the expansive Sunshine City complex, where the 240m-tall Sunshine 60 skyscraper - an attraction for shoppers, tourists and business people - is located.

Japan's "silver tsunami" demographic crisis, which is set to worsen, has raised the question of how safe elderly drivers are.

Drivers aged 75 or older, including those who had not taken a cognition test, caused 418 fatal accidents in 2017 alone. Under a revised traffic law that took effect in March 2017, drivers aged 75 or older are required to see a doctor in the preliminary part of the screening if they are suspected of having dementia.

Japan's National Police Agency has reported that some 1,900 elderly drivers had their licences revoked or suspended after undergoing medical tests in the first year under the revised traffic law.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2019, with the headline '2 critically hurt after elderly man crashes car at Tokyo junction'. Print Edition | Subscribe