The education minister said Tuesday public swimming pools may face on-site inspections after a survey found 1,900 of them nationwide have drain-related safety problems.

Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Kenji Kosaka said the survey results are “worse than expected and shocking.”

“We will consider changing notices (to local authorities) so they are more serious and raise awareness of the dangers,” Kosaka said.

A recent survey by the education ministry found that nearly 1,600 public school and public swimming pools have no metal grilles on intake pipes to prevent people from getting sucked into the drains.

The ministry began calling on boards of education in 1999 to take double preventive measures — bolt down drain grilles and install metal grating on intake pipes to prevent swimmers from getting sucked into drainpipes.

According to the survey, conducted after last week’s fatal pool accident in Saitama Prefecture, 1,596 pools in 37 prefectures had no such gratings, and 305 pools in 38 prefectures had drain grilles that were insecurely fastened.

The ministry has ordered boards of education nationwide to stop using pools with these problems until they are fixed.

Each year before the swimming season begins, the ministry reminds the boards of education of the need to take measures to prevent pool accidents, including checking drain covers.

The ministry ordered boards in 47 prefectures to look into the safety of public school pools and public swimming pools after a 7-year-old girl died from being sucked into the drainpipe of a city-run swimming pool in Fujimino, Saitama Prefecture, on July 30.

The pool’s intake grille, which had not been properly secured, had become dislodged.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.