Bus Firm Pres., Ex-Worker Plead Not Guilty over 2016 Crash


Nagano, Oct. 21 (Jiji Press)--The president and a former employee of a bus company pleaded not guilty in their trial hearing Thursday over a 2016 deadly ski tour bus crash in central Japan.

Misaku Takahashi, 60, president of ESP, and former employee Tsuyoshi Arai, 53, claimed their innocence in their first hearing at Nagano District Court.

The two were indicted in January this year for professional negligence causing death and injury, after a bus operated by the company crashed in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, on Jan. 15, 2016. The accident killed 15 people, mainly university students, and injured 26.

Takahashi argued that he did everything he was required to do, while Arai said that he did not expect the bus driver to cause an accident.

In the trial, the prosecution and the defense are expected to focus on whether the accident was foreseeable and whether necessary measures were taken to avoid an accident.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press