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The operators of a highway tunnel which collapsed catastrophically causing the deaths of 9 people have caused outrage with their excuse that the reason safety inspections were not carried out there was “because the inspectors couldn’t reach that high.”

According to the company managing the tunnel, of the 3 tunnels with identical construction it manages, the 35-year-old Sasago tunnel in Yamanashi prefecture was the only one in which they failed to test the bolts securing the 1.2 ton concrete ceiling panels to the roof of the tunnel.

They explained that this was because the anchor bolts at Sasago were higher (reaching the dizzying height of 5m) than the other tunnels and “the workers couldn’t reach them,” so instead they did not bother to test them and “just looked at them instead.”

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The highly sophisticated safety tests employed by the industry consist of hitting the bolts with a hammer and listening to whether they sound right, and are required by law as often as every 5 years. The last time they were tested at Sasago was in 2000.

“Daily inspections” were carried out as recently as 2 days before the accident, but as these consisted only of “visual inspections” they detected “no problem” with the tunnel.

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9 people died when several hundred concrete panels making up the ceiling of the tunnel fell in sequence onto traffic running through the tunnel, crushing them outright or killing them in the ensuing inferno.

One eyewitness, an NHK reporter, was in the tunnel as it collapsed and ascribed his survival only to the extreme performance of his Subaru Impreza WRX STi, which he floored as soon as the panels began to fall.

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Despite being hit by a falling concrete panel, the car made it out of the tunnel with driver unharmed.

The accident was apparently caused by a failure in the bolts securing the tiles to the tunnel roof. Rescuers were also severely hampered by the fact the only ventilation available in the tunnel was destroyed as soon as the panels fell.

The tunnel remains closed indefinitely and emergency safety inspections are being conducted on any tunnel conceivably at risk of the same problem, whilst police have raided the operators.

Opportunistic efforts by concrete loving LDP supporters to pin the disaster on the DPJ’s policy of redirecting public funds “from concrete to people” have largely failed thanks to the inconvenient fact that the tunnel was privately operated, and built and privatised under LDP rule in the first place.

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    87 Comments
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    Comment by Anonymous
    15:41 06/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Props to the NHK reporter?

    Tunnel collapsing?:

    1) Stare in horror

    2) Scream in terror

    3) Floor it

    Initial D anyone?

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:31 06/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    'sniff' that hero STi....may it rest in peace...

    Comment by Anonymous

    Poor GC8...

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:32 06/12/2012 # ! Good (+0.8)

    you know you had a good car when it saves your ass from these kinda disasters

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:03 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Subaru B-pillar, fuck yeah.

    Driving inside a big cage made up of eight layers of steel.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:49 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    its not steel its week sheet metal....that shit wont save you either, you have to be lucky and not get hit directly, or sit in a car made of krupp stahl :>

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:44 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'll go for option 1.

    Avatar of Artist Rising
    Comment by Artist Rising
    15:35 06/12/2012 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    Last pic: "You have dishonored your nation...now commit suicide to repent for what you have done."

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:49 06/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    They don't do that anymore, which is a real shame because it would shape up the political landscape considerably...

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:37 06/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    amen to that....world wide that would fix a bunch of shit...some times the old ways are the best...

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:38 06/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Only problem being that most of the time it would be an almost innocent scapegoat commiting the suicide while the real quilty people would just get away with no real problems.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:22 07/12/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Exactly, the real shitbags would still continue to exist and the honorable ones would all be dead.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:25 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Yes they do, Tadahiro Matsushita, the (former) Minister of Financial Services, commited suicide when his affair was made public.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:50 06/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    For the wrong reasons then.
    Affair = suicide.
    Mass murder = apology/bonus.

    Reminds me of Clinton and the following presidents. Society sure is fucked up.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:42 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.1)

    Clinton did'nt do anything except sleep with a nasty-looking intern. Not like ole GW who lied to the American public about WMD just to get his greedy little hands on some oil. Now that deserves Seppuku .

    Avatar of Gradius
    Comment by Gradius
    13:44 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Anon @16:50: Clinton? You mean Obama! He's the total mass murder here!

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:38 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Last pic just screams "Sumimasen Deshita!"...

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:39 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    What people don't mention is that Clinton was a nice guy even while getting blow jobs from the intern. Most politicians and rich guys just zip up and give a quick "Thanks, now get out".

    Clinton personally bought a book of poetry as a present, on one occasion, and stimulated Monica with a cigar so she could get off as well.

    Bill Clinton was an intelligent articulate politician, an excellent president, and a thoughtful blowjob getter. A helluva guy.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:29 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    21:42

    "Clinton did'nt do anything except sleep with a nasty-looking intern."

    ORLY? Well it sure as fuck was not GWB that allowed a bill to pass that allowed veritable interest rates, along with the maximum interest rate raised above 20%. Nor was it GWB that worked hard to outsource labor to China. Nor was is GWB that gave North Korea oil in exchange for their "word" that they wouldn't develop nuclear technology. All that was Bill Clinton, the president celebrity idiots like Seth MacFarlane tell stupid kids like yourself to blindly worship. u mad bro?

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:55 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    1: The economy was growing due to him.
    2: He only got a fucking blow job, which in his case I don't blame him. (look at his wife)
    3: He never caused "Mass murder" because of fucking up an inspection or causing a war because of "9/11" nor gasoline which I HIGHLY believe Bush Jr. did. Sorry to say but you really need to brush up on the U.S. if you plan to insult it correctly.

    Comment by Anonymous

    The follow people agree that Iraq has WMDs:
    The UN Security Council
    Hans Blix
    Hillary and Bill Clinton
    Dianne Feinstein
    All but one of the OPEC countries
    The Kurds and Iranians who dies in poison gas attacks from Iraq
    Congress (with only 9 "no" votes)
    And most importantly, Saddam Hussien, who loudly claimed he had them.
    The EU Security Council
    WTF was Bush supposed to say?!?

    And, although it has been almost unreported by the liberal media, US and UN teams are currently cleaning up poison gas depots in Iraq.

    Not to mention that at the time of the war, it was widely believed Iraq was franticvally hiding some of his gas shells in Syria. And how we're hearing of the danger of Syria using some of those shells.

    But, no, Bush should have "admitted" Iraq had no WMDs and that he "lied."
    Are you Bush haters THAT insane?

    Avatar of Powerpuff Loli
    Comment by Powerpuff Loli
    16:39 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I'm hoping the guy with the giant axe to decapitate them was left out of the picture by accident.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:11 11/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    And it's the higher-ups who /should/ suicide.

    "Because the inspectors couldn't reach that high" really means:

    (a) "We didn't want to buy our workers the ladders they need to do their jobs properly"; or,

    (b) "Our (executives') arms could only reach high enough to slips wads of construction company / yakuza kickback cash into our suit-jacket pockets."

    Avatar of Riiku
    Comment by Riiku
    21:58 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    If it was Soviet Russia, Stalin would personally shot them

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:48 06/12/2012 # ! Drivel (-1.0)

    It's not suicide, it's seppoku you're looking for.
    Suicides are boring and not worth reading about.
    Seppoku on the other hand...

    Avatar of คภєк๏
    Comment by คภєк๏
    17:05 06/12/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    If you're going to try to correct people, at least have your facts straight.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:19 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I dunno, seems to me like death by number puzzle would be more interesting.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:13 06/12/2012 # ! Good (+0.7)

    Anon commit sudoku, you have dishonored yourself.

    Avatar of ChaosConsuming
    Comment by ChaosConsuming
    15:22 09/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    It's called Seppuku. Sudoku is a kind of word puzzle.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:02 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Why are these panels so heavy in the first place? They don't seem to be a structural part of the tunnel construction and their purpose is mostly aesthetic.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:56 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Wait a minute.. this wasn't in china.. oh japan how could you... lol

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:24 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    it didn't explode , it collapsed , collapse are common there : birth rate , police IQ ...

    /semi-troll

    Comment by Anonymous

    Fukushima was built by Americans. This tunnel was built by French. No wonder they both collapsed. And Subaru is Japanese, and it survived.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:16 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    At least they weren't built by Chinese.

    Avatar of ChaosConsuming
    Comment by ChaosConsuming
    15:26 09/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    The only thing you can hold the builder at fault for is any kind of design flaw. Maintenance was up to the respective owners, and obviously they didn't do a very good job.

    Comment by Char
    02:14 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    Both cases no one was properly doing any inspections.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:57 08/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Stuff doesn't stay good after being built if people don't take care of it ongoing.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:19 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    "whilst police have raided the operators."

    They should raid themselves once in a while. I bet there would be major shit turning up.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:34 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    If your testing the bolts by taping on them with a hammer.... wouldn't that make a faulty bolt drop the concrete panel on top of you??

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:11 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Actually you're standing on top of said panel...

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:35 06/12/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Not much of an improvement

    Comment by Char
    02:20 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well you'll catch it when only one or two bolts are bad and before there's a danger of it falling.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:49 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    wow japan has really gone downhill if they can't even use a ladder

    Avatar of ChaosConsuming
    Comment by ChaosConsuming
    15:28 09/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Thank you for saying that. I was wondering if anyone else thought that when they saw the title.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:29 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Subaru Impreza WRX STi

    God damn I feel proud of my impreza.

    Good job Fuji Heavy Industries

    Shitty job safety inspectors.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:58 08/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    good cars, those WRX's

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:20 06/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I think I know why they like to bow that deep in apology. They just want to hide their trollfaces.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:18 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I still fail to grasp why tunnels have a ceiling of SUSPENDED concrete bolted to a concrete shaft. Seriously, I don't get the logic behind hanging a 1.2 ton slab of concrete from rock & concrete. If they do it purely for ascetics, it's the most asinine thing I've ever heard of. And why not use composites?! The whole thing sounds ridiculous to me.

    Comment by Char
    05:26 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    They probably ran power,water or gas lines through said tunnel and needed to hide them somehow.

    As for why concrete fire safety would be one reason.

    Avatar of ChaosConsuming
    Comment by ChaosConsuming
    15:36 09/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Actually if look at the fact the whole tunnel was made out of LDP concrete it tells you why. It would have been less profitable for them to not use as much concrete as possible, so they decided to get an extra buck by using concrete panels instead of sheet metal or anything lighter.

    Actually if they cared at all about safety they would try to add as little weight as possible to the already load bearing tunnel walls, but was that is obviously too much to ask for the greedy bastards.

    Avatar of HAL
    Comment by HAL
    14:04 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Wow, a Private Company that is lazy and doesnt bother to check health and safety. I am so surprised

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:07 07/12/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    The Japanese government inspectors didn't do their job, either. I'm in Japan right now and there is an investigation going on into why not. Probably bribes, as usual.





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