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Batteries in alarms given to new elementary school kids may explode: NCAC

An exploded battery and a personal alarm buzzer are seen in Tokyo's Minato Ward on April 19, 2018. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The batteries in some 10,000 personal alarm buzzers issued to new elementary school children since April 2016 could explode, the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (NCAC) warned on April 19.

    Many elementary school students in Japan carry alarm buzzers, which they can sound in case of emergency and are intended to discourage attacks on the children.

    The NCAC received three requests to investigate exploding buzzer batteries from local governments in Tokyo and Aichi Prefecture from August 2017 to April this year. The center confirmed two other cases during its investigation. The NCAC believes the explosions are caused by faulty pressure relief valves, causing a buildup of gas produced as the battery is used up.

    The Chinese-made AAA batteries are labeled with the word "Vinnic" and the lot number "12-2020."

    The center examined 10 unused buzzers provided by a municipal government, pressing them continuously to use up the batteries. Two of the batteries exploded within one to two days, sending the battery box covers and batteries flying several meters.

    "It would be very dangerous if someone was holding it when it exploded," an NCAC representative said.

    The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology communicated the findings to prefectural education boards, which distribute the personal alarms.

    Inquiries about the buzzers can be made with distributor Seibunkan's Tokyo branch office at 03-6802-4690 (in Japanese).

    (Japanese original by Reiko Oka, Lifestyle News Department)

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