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The number of traffic accidents in Japan in January to June fell 22.3 percent from a year before to 146,043 amid the coronavirus pandemic, National Police Agency data showed Tuesday.

The decrease was apparently because of lower traffic volume as many people refrained from going out amid the pandemic.

The figure was the lowest for a first half since 1990, when data became available, according to the NPA.

The number of fatal traffic accidents fell only slightly, dropping 3.8 percent to 1,334. Some vehicles were traveling at higher than usual speeds on less crowded roads, the NPA said.

The monthly number of overall traffic accidents fell in each month from January to June.

The number fell sharply in April and May, by 35.4 percent and 41.4 percent, respectively, as the country was under a state of emergency over the coronavirus.

The number of elderly people aged 65 and over who were killed while crossing the street rose by 31 to 100. The number of elderly car drivers who died in accidents they caused themselves increased by 22 to 85.

The number of self-inflicted accidents caused by motorbike riders rose by 27 to 90.

The speed of vehicles that caused accidents tended to be faster this year than last year, according to the NPA.

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