Families Mourn JAL Jet Crash Victims on 35th Anniversary

Society

Ueno, Gunma Pref., Aug. 12 (Jiji Press)--Family members of victims of the 1985 crash of a Japan Airlines <9201> jumbo jet went on a memorial hike to the mountainous disaster site on the 35th anniversary Wednesday, in limited groups to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

In normal years, bereaved families and others climb to the Osutaka Ridge in the village of Ueno, Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo, to offer prayers at grave markers engraved with the names of the victims of the crash on Aug. 12, 1985, the world's deadliest single-aircraft accident, which left 520 passengers and crew members dead.

But this year, the memorial hike was carried out over five days in smaller groups due to the coronavirus crisis. A record-low 141 people, about half the number of participants in normal years, joined the anniversary day's hike.

Yumiko Kobayashi, a 61-year-old resident of Saitama, north of Tokyo, took her 2-year-old grandson, Naoto, to the mountain for the first time. She lost her 21-year-old brother in the crash.

Amid the coronavirus epidemic, Kobayashi thought hard about whether it would be all right to come, before their visit to the mountain.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press