Japan to Mandate Safety Devices on Nursery Buses from April


Tokyo, Oct. 12 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government Wednesday adopted a set of emergency measures centered on mandating the installation of safety devices on nursery and kindergarten buses to prevent children from being left behind inside.

The mandatory safety device rule will enter into force in April next year with a grace period of one year. Operators of such facilities violating the rule would be ordered to suspend operations or face other punishments.

Last month, a 3-year-old girl died of heatstroke after being left behind on a bus of a "kodomoen" kindergarten-nursery hybrid in Makinohara, Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan. This followed a similar fatal incident in Nakama, Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan, in July last year.

The transport ministry will draw up guidelines by year-end on specifications of the required safety devices. Options being considered include a button at the rear end of the bus that sounds an alarm if not pressed after the engine stops, prompting staff to check inside the vehicle, as well as a sensor to detect any child left inside.

Those subject to the obligation include kindergartens, nursery schools, kodomoen facilities, schools for special needs education and day care centers for children with disabilities. The number of such facilities is estimated at some 24,000, with their buses seen totaling 44,000.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press