Visually impaired man hit by self-driving bus in Paralympic Village

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
(Getty)
(Getty)
  • A visually impaired man was hit by a self-driving bus in Tokyo on a pedestrian crossing.
  • Operation of the vehicles has since been suspended.
  • Neither Tokyo 2020 nor Toyota identified the person hit by the vehicle, but several local media outlets named the injured pedestrian as Japanese judoka Aramitsu Kitazono.


A visually impaired man was hit by a self-driving bus in the Paralympic village in Tokyo, organisers said on Friday, adding the accident left no "external injury."

The accident took place on Thursday afternoon, according to organisers and Toyota, which developed the autonomous shuttle buses used in the compound.

It said it had suspended operation of the vehicles after the accident, in which one of its electric buses "made contact with a pedestrian who is visually impaired" on a pedestrian crossing.

"We deeply apologise for those who suffered injuries. We are fully cooperating with the police on the case," the company added.

Tokyo 2020 said the man hit by the bus underwent "a full examination" and "no external injury was identified."

"The shuttle bus service in the Village has been temporarily suspended and operations will be resumed as soon as it is deemed safe to do so," organisers added.

Neither Tokyo 2020 nor Toyota identified the person hit by the vehicle, but several local media outlets named the injured pedestrian as Japanese judoka Aramitsu Kitazono.

Local media said the 30-year-old fell and will need two weeks to recover from his injuries, with public broadcaster NHK reporting he will miss his bout on Saturday due to "his bad physical condition".

His coach said he made the decision after talking to Kitazono and consulting with a doctor who treated him, the report added.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun daily said two bus operators - on board to supervise the autonomous operation - said they noticed the athlete, but thought he would stop walking as the bus was approaching.

The Mainichi Shimbun daily said the bus automatically stopped but the operators pressed the start button as they did not think the pedestrian would walk out onto the road.

Five passengers were aboard but none were injured, the Asahi said, adding that the pedestrian was not holding a cane and there was a traffic-control guard at the crossing.

Thousands of athletes and team officials are staying in the Paralympic Village for the virus-delayed Games that began on Tuesday.

The self-driving buses were also used in the athletes' village during the Olympics.

Did you know you can listen to articles? Subscribe to News24 for access to this exciting feature and more.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 623 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 3413 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 714 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.20
-0.1%
Rand - Pound
21.30
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
18.70
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.22
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Platinum
1,012.08
0.0%
Palladium
1,618.86
0.0%
Gold
1,928.39
0.0%
Silver
23.60
0.0%
Brent Crude
86.66
-0.9%
Top 40
74,766
+0.4%
All Share
80,791
+0.4%
Resource 10
77,871
-0.4%
Industrial 25
103,872
+0.7%
Financial 15
16,281
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE