OTSU -- A little girl and boy, both 2 years old, were killed and two other children left in critical condition after a car careened into a day care group here on the morning of May 8, according to authorities.
Killed in the accident were Yui Harada and Gaku Ito, both from Otsu.
A light vehicle apparently struck the group of 13 children and three staff at about 10:15 a.m. after hitting a regular passenger car making a right turn. Fifteen people in the group, including two day care staff aged 27 and 47 and all the children, were sent to hospital. The two children in critical condition, a girl and a boy, were unconscious for a time after the accident.
Shiga Prefectural Police arrested the drivers of both the regular and light vehicles, 52-year-old Fumiko Shintate and a 62-year-old woman, respectively, on suspicion of negligent driving causing injury. The latter was released that night.
Police and other sources have told the Mainichi Shimbun that the accident occurred near a signaled intersection on a two-lane prefectural road in Otsu, capital of the western Japan prefecture of Shiga. The children were 2- and 3-year-olds from the Leimond Oumi Hoikuen day care center, located about 200 meters from the scene of the accident.
"We are deeply shocked and pained by this heartbreaking accident," read a comment released by the day care's operator Social Welfare Corporation Lemon. "We feel terribly sorry when we think of the children's future."
(Japanese original by Yusuke Konishi, Akiho Narimatsu, and Misaki Morokuma, Otsu Bureau)