Some tunnel safety checks deficient

JIJI

The government has failed to carry out appropriate safety checks for 23 tunnels on national highways in seven prefectures, a Board of Audit survey found.

No safety problems have been found in the tunnels, the board said Thursday in announcing the outcome of the survey of safety features and their ventilation facilities in 312 national highway tunnels across 16 prefectures. Regular safety checks are carried out on tunnels every two to five years.

For 11 of the 23 tunnels, in Nagano, Gifu and Hyogo prefectures, inspections were not conducted for nine to 10 years, despite the last ones being carried out in fiscal 2002, according to the board. Other problems included failing to follow the rule requiring the first inspections be made within two years of construction.