The Hachioji branch of the Tokyo District Court on Monday rejected a civil lawsuit filed by the parents of a 12-year-old boy who was crushed to death when a municipal garbage truck collected the trash container he was in.
The boy’s parents had demanded a combined 50 million yen from the city of Tama, western Tokyo, and the garbage collection firm, based in Inagi, western Tokyo, for negligence in the August 1998 accident.
In his ruling, presiding Judge Keiko Kobayashi said it would have been impossible to foresee that someone might be in the trash container.
According to the court, the crane of a garbage collection vehicle hoisted the container the child was in and opened its bottom to let the waste out. The boy tumbled into the press of the truck and died.
The boy’s parents argued that the garbage collectors failed to follow safety procedures before lifting the bin and before turning on the press. They also said the city, which placed the trash container where it was, was negligent in having the garbage collectors conduct such safety checks.
The city maintained it could not foresee the possibility of anyone being inside the bins.
There were no witnesses who could explain why the child was in the container, which measured 1.3 meters wide and 1.7 meters high, to begin with.
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