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Blind woman fatally struck by train at crossing in west Japan

The crossing on Kintetsu Railway Co.'s Kashihara Line, where a woman was hit by a limited express train, is seen in Yamatokoriyama, Nara Prefecture, on April 25, 2022. (Mainichi/Yuhi Yoshikawa)

YAMATOKORIYAMA, Nara -- A blind woman was fatally struck by a train at a railroad level crossing in this western Japan city on April 25.

    Kintetsu Railway Co.'s limited express train that departed Kashiharajingu-mae Station and was bound for Kyoto Station on the Kashihara Line hit Yoko Takagaki, 50, at a crossing in the Nishiokacho district of Yamatokoriyama, Nara Prefecture, at around 6:10 p.m. The victim, who lived nearby, had a physical disability certificate indicating that she was blind, and a white cane was found near the scene. Nara Prefectural Police's Koriyama Police Station is investigating the cause of the accident.

    The railroad crossing between Kintetsu-Koriyama and Tsutsui stations is 4.7 meters wide and 8.2 meters long, and has a safety alarm and crossing barriers.

    According to the police station, a nearby security camera had filmed the bars lowering when Takagaki had almost finished crossing the tracks. Immediately after she was about to turn back, she seemed to have been hit by the train, the footage apparently showed.

    Due to the accident, train operations on the Kashihara Line were suspended for about an hour and 20 minutes.

    (Japanese original by Shinichi Hamana, Yamatotakada Resident Bureau, and Mizuki Hayashi and Takeshi Kawabata, Nara Bureau)

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