More than 300 family members of those who died from the 1985 plane crash in Mount Osutaka, Gunma Prefecture came early Monday and climbed the mountain to offer prayers for the 520 people who died in the accident. The visit this year marks the 28th anniversary of the plane crash. Most of the relatives are already in their old age.
Students from the Tokyo campus of Toyo University assisted the bereaved family members climb the steep mountain. Japan Airlines President Yoshiharu Ueki also came later of the day. At 6 PM, a solemn ceremony called “Irei no Sono” was observed at the foot of the mountain. Shinjiro Minami was among those who died from the crash. His daughter, Risako Uchino, now a 53-year old employee from a school in Kawasaki, came on Monday. “I feel I’m close to my father when I come here,” she said.
It was August 12, 1985 when 15 crew members and 509 passengers were onboard JAL Flight 123 from Haneda Airport in Tokyo, bound for Itami Airport in Osaka. The Boeing 747 lost its hydraulic pressure, leading to the pilot’s loss of control of the aircraft. JAL Flight 123 crashed into Mount Osutaka at 6:56 PM. Rescue arrived half a day later and found the lives of all but four people onboard already lost.