• Kyodo

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A security company made false statements in connection with a fatal crush that killed 11 people at a fireworks display on July 22 in Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture, police said Friday.

The firm, which was in charge of overall security that night, falsely stated at a news conference immediately after the incident that it on the three occasions regulated the flow of people onto the pedestrian overpass where the crush occurred, police said.

The security company also misquoted the number of guards it stationed that night at 156 — 19 more than the actual figure — in an effort to evade responsibility, officials said.

Police added that before releasing the inflated figure, the security firm conferred with the Akashi Municipal Government, the organizer of the event, on the numbers of security staff.

Police also found that the security firm did not formally sign contracts with seven subcontractor security companies that also sent staff that night.

According to police, an official of the security firm explained at the news conference that his company controlled the flow of a crowd of spectators into the pedestrian bridge three times from shortly before the fireworks display began.

He also criticized local police for failing to swiftly act in accordance with the company’s request for more cooperation when the crowd thickened, police said.

However, the official admitted during the ongoing police investigation that he instructed guards on his own discretion that there was no need for crowd control, despite their reports of heavy congestion on the overpass, police said.

Nine infants and children were among the 11 crushed to death on the overpass, while over 100 others were injured.

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