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The Sunday collapse of a portion of the ceiling of the Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Yamanashi Prefecture, crushing three vehicles and killing at least nine people, has raised serious and widespread concern about the safety of road tunnels throughout Japan. This accident clearly was caused by human neglect.

Inside the 4.7 km-long tunnel, some 180 concrete panels forming a length of the tunnel ceiling fell, covering a distance of some 130 meters. Each panel is 5 meters long, 1.2 meters wide, 8 cm thick and weighs 1.2 tons. At the very least, expressway companies and the central and local governments must carry out thorough inspections of the reported 48 other tunnels that share the same design as the Sasago Tunnel to prevent similar accidents.

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