OSAKA – Construction work began Tuesday to make it more difficult for sports fans to jump from Ebisu Bridge into the Dotonbori River in central Osaka.
The move comes after a man died when he jumped into the river on Sept. 15 to celebrate the Hanshin Tigers’ Central League pennant. He was among some 5,300 people who were estimated to have made the plunge that day.
According to municipal officials, the most popular way of jumping was to do it repeatedly, first jumping into the river from the railing of the bridge and then climbing back up to the railing’s outer ledge via a ladder on the riverbank.
In an effort to thwart this, the outer portion of the railing will be covered by boards so the ledge is effectively gone.
Barbed wire will also be wrapped around street lamps near the bridge so revelers cannot climb up them, and speakers will be installed in the area so that requests for people to control themselves can be better heard.
The work is scheduled to be completed Friday.
The Tigers, who won their league for the first time in 18 years, play the Pacific League champion Daiei Hawks in the Japan Series beginning Saturday.
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