The families of five young adults who perished when the Sasago Tunnel partially collapsed in December have announced the filing of criminal complaint against the Central Japan Expressway Co. for their mismanagement. The five victims, all in their 20s, were among the nine people who were killed while driving on the Chuo Expressway in Yamanashi Prefecture towards Tokyo when a large number of concrete panels fell from the tunnel’s ceiling.
A lawyer representing the bereaved families says their legal complaint will be ready as early as February and will name the expressway company’s President Takekazu Kaneko, among other officials, in their accusations of criminal negligence that resulted in death and injury. The Yamanashi Prefectural Police have been investigating the company for the same reasons ever since the accident, but the families of the victims say they want to make it clear where the responsibility lies.
Located about 85 kilometers (53 miles) west of Tokyo, the Sasago Tunnel was built in 1977 and was quickly revealed to have never once had any repair work done. Central Japan Expressway even admitted that their September inspections found nothing wrong, yet their testing methods were inadequate and did not meet the required standards. In the wake of such discoveries, emergency safety inspections were ordered across the country.
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