Multilevel parking accidents probed

Kyodo

At least 10 people have been killed and 26 others injured in accidents at multilevel parking facilities installed at condominiums and other buildings in the country since 2007, data compiled by Kyodo News showed Wednesday.

The Japan Parking Systems Manufacturers Association says there are a total of 518,000 facilities nationwide. Despite the sizable number, the central government has not worked out any regulations on installation and safety, according to the association.

In April, a 3-year-old boy died in Osaka Prefecture after being crushed in a vehicle elevator at a parking facility while his mother was operating it to bring her car up from its underground parking space.

Parking systems used by the general public such as at department stores are typically manned by dedicated staff for operations and some are even equipped with auto-stop functions when people are detected inside dangerous platform areas.

Often at condominium buildings, it is left up to residents to operate these machines. Operational errors have also been reported at these places.

One resident of a condominium in Nagoya was crushed to death by a vehicle elevator at his building in August 2008, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

In April 2010, a dedicated operator moved vehicle platforms when a driver was inside the facility in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. The driver was killed after his head was crushed, it said.