Shimane Prefecture awards a college student’s family a settlement in restitution for the roadside accident that took her life.
Over 70 percent of Japan is covered in mountains, making it somewhat impossible to navigate the country without crossing a few mountains, many of which are prone to sudden landslides. People die each year in Japan due to landslide-related accidents, and Mt. Fuji alone claims an average of four people annually.
One landslide victim this year was an 18-year-old university student from Hiroshima, who was passenger in a car traveling on a mountainside road in the city of Oonan, Shimane Prefecture when falling rocks landed on the vehicle. The rocks, which were about one meter (3.28 feet) in diameter, killed her instantly upon impact.
In Japan, measures are often taken to prevent landslide accidents with protective landscaping like wire rope. Unfortunately, Shimane Prefecture had not extended this protection to the area the car was driving along at the time of the accident, and a combination of strong winds and overgrown tree roots was enough to dislodge the rocks that fell upon the vehicle.
The prefecture has agreed to pay damages to the bereaved family in the form of 100,000,000 yen, a sum worth just under one million US dollars. The prefecture will issue a supplementary budget when the prefectural assembly takes place next month, which will provide for the settlement and plans to secure the area in hopes of preventing more accidents.