Tourist Spot

Accidents increase in rivers, decrease in sea in Japan in 2020, possibly due to pandemic


The entrance to Central Government Building No.2, which houses the National Police Agency, can be seen in this file photo taken in Tokyo in 2019 (Mainichi / Kazuo Motohashi)

TOKYO – The number of accidents in Japanese rivers has increased in 2020, apparently due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Police Agency announced on June 17 that 475 people had been involved in river accidents across the country in 2020, 49 more than the five-year average between 2015 and 2019. The number of victims in water accidents sea, meanwhile, was falling. In its analysis, the agency said a growing number of people appeared to have flocked to the rivers because beaches were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while people also avoided crowds in the rivers. swimming pools.

A total of 1,353 water accidents occurred in 2020, 55 more than the previous year. Collectively, these accidents involved 1,547 people, nine more than the previous year. Of these, 722 people died or disappeared, 27 more than in 2019. A total of 898 people were involved in marine accidents, 71 less than the average over the five-year period.

Broken down by month, August recorded the highest number of river accident victims with 156, 30% more than this month’s five-year average.

In contrast, the number of mountain accidents fell for the second year in a row to 2,294, 237 fewer than in 2019. The number of people involved in these accidents fell from 240 to 2,697. between them were aged 60 or over. The total number of people dead or missing in mountain accidents in 2020 was 278, down 21 people from the previous year.

Distributed by month, the number of victims in mountain accidents in April and May, when many trails were closed due to the national coronavirus state of emergency, reached 69 and 114, respectively, or roughly half the level of the five-year average. However, more people were involved in crashes in the fall compared to an average year.

By location, the death toll on the 3000-meter mountains was significantly lower in 2020: five on Mount Fuji, one on Mount Kitadake in the southern Japanese Alps, and seven on Mount Yarigatake in the northern Japanese Alps, versus 86, 21 and 16 in an average year, respectively. Mount Takao, a tourist spot in western Tokyo, has seen 50 people involved in crashes, up from an average of 85 each year. In contrast, the number of people involved in mountain accidents that occurred outside of major peaks, such as community mountains, increased slightly, from 1,385 to 1,398.

(Japanese original by Noritake Machida, Tokyo City Public Information Department)