FUKUOKA -- Residents of Higashi Ward in this city paid tribute to three young siblings who died in a drunken driving accident as 10 years was marked since the tragedy on Aug. 25.
The young children, Hiroaki, Tomoaki, and Saaya Ogami, died when a Fukuoka Municipal Government employee driving under the influence of alcohol collided with their family car on Umi no Nakamichi Ohashi bridge in Fukuoka's Higashi Ward on Aug. 25, 2006, sending their car into the sea. The children were aged 4, 3 and 1 at the time, respectively.
On the 10th anniversary of the accident, neighbors and children prayed for the three children at their grave at Myotokuzen-ji temple in the ward, where three Jizo statues stand in remembrance of them. The statues, erected in 2007, are named "Jizo of sky, wind, and light" after the children's posthumous Buddhist names.
A total of 66 pupils at Fukuoka's Maidashi nursery came to pay their respects at the temple. Akari Toyota, 6, said, "I prayed that adults will stop drinking and driving."
Meanwhile, at JR Hakata Station and other locations, Fukuoka Prefectural Police officers and city employees handed out fliers to commuters calling for awareness of the dangers of drunken driving.
Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima expressed his renewed determination to prevent drunken driving accidents at a news conference on Aug. 25.
"This is a day that we at city hall must never forget. We absolutely cannot afford to let the memory fade nor allow an accident like this to happen ever again," he said.