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Girl dies as car driven by 13-yr-old crashes in western Japan

Photo shows a damaged vehicle in Okayama after an accident that left a girl dead and four other teenagers in the car injured. (Kyodo)

OKINAWA (Kyodo) -- A car carrying five 13-year-old students crashed in the western Japan city of Okayama on Sunday morning, leaving one of them, a girl, dead and the other four seriously injured, police said.

The police are investigating who was behind the wheel when the car carrying the junior high school second-graders hit a pole on the median strip of a four-lane road around 4:55 a.m. An empty can of "chuhai" low-alcohol beverage was found in the backseat of the car.

People must be 18 years old or older to drive a car in Japan.

The girl who died was identified as Koharu Abe. She was thrown out of the vehicle and hit her head when it crashed into the pole, the police said, adding that a relative of one of the five owned the vehicle.

The other four, who remain conscious, are three boys and a girl. One of the boys belongs to the same junior high school that Abe attended, according to the police.

The accident occurred in an area where drivers can see the way clearly.

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