Nationwide, 2,339 school and public swimming pools do not meet safety standards because their drain and intake grilles are not properly bolted in place, according to a government survey released Thursday.
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry conducted the emergency survey on some 30,000 public schools with swimming pools and some 2,900 public swimming pool facilities following a fatal accident in Saitama Prefecture last month.
Swimming pools that did not meet the safety standards have suspended operations upon receiving the ministry’s instruction issued Monday.
According to the survey, 1,964 pools had no grilles inside drainpipes to prevent people being sucked in, and 375 pools had drain grilles that were not securely fastened.
Of the pools without secured gratings, 245 are public schools and 130 are public facilities, while 1,560 schools and 404 facilities had unbolted covers, it said.
The total figure rose by 438 from the ministry’s interim report released Monday as municipalities updated their figures. Some initially decided it was unnecessary to report all cases as some pools were scheduled to be repaired, the ministry said.
Since the late 1990s, the government has been annually sending notices asking schools and municipalities to install both fastened drain covers and gratings inside pipes to prevent accidents.
On July 31, 7-year-old Erika Tomaru was killed in a city-run swimming pool in Fujimino, Saitama Prefecture, after being sucked into a water intake pipe whose grille had fallen off after being improperly attached by wires. The pipe also didn’t have an internal grating.
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