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2 Toward Developing People-First Walking Spaces that Ensure Safety and Bestow Peace of Mind

Most of the traffic safety measures that have been successful to date have dealt primarily with the automobile. The nation is still not paying sufficient attention to road development and traffic safety projects that will benefit the pedestrian.

Moreover, the safety of children commuting to school remains at serious risk from traffic detouring through near-by residential roads to avoid congestion on the major thoroughfares. As birthrates continue to fall and the elderly become a larger part of the population hereafter, there is a need not only to reduce fatalities among the elderly, whose deaths constitute 40% of all traffic deaths, but also to protect children who are the nation's future.

In light of this situation, the nation continues to adopt traffic safety measures that focus on the development of walking spaces that ensure safety and peace of mind to pedestrians. Guided by a people-first philosophy, these policies urge more active policy initiatives aimed at developing sidewalks and other facilities along school routes, residential roads, and major thoroughfares through urban districts, in cooperation with local communities.

Safe commutes to schools
Safe commutes to schools

8See footnote 5.

2-2 Dissemination and reinforcement of traffic safety messages
Traffic safety education for the elderly
The nation also recognized the need to increase traffic safety awareness of seniors themselves, through mutual edification programs involving seniors. Toward this end, the country supported the establishment of traffic safety clubs within senior's clubs and retirement homes and encouraged the training of “Silver Leaders,” seniors who provide education on traffic safety to other seniors. It also encouraged seniors' clubs to take leadership roles on traffic safety within their communities and households, and provided support for such efforts. In conjunction with related organizations, seniors' clubs responded by preparing “Hiyari Maps” (maps of near-miss spots) and by proposing and organizing seminars on the safe use of electric wheelchairs (wheelchairs powered by motors that meet standards set by the Enforcement Regulations of the Road Traffic Law), whose use has begun spreading rapidly in recent days.
The Cabinet Office carried out two programs in the area of traffic safety education for the elderly. One, called the “Citizen-involved Project to Promote Traffic Safety Education for Seniors,” aimed to train leaders who would continue to promote programs of traffic safety education based on participation, hands-on experience, and actual practice. The other, called the “Central Training Program for Silver Leaders,” sought to improve Silver Leaders' ability to educate sub-leaders. The Cabinet Office also continued its efforts in the “Traffic Safety Awareness Program for Seniors,” which encompasses the “Cross-generation Sharing Project,” in which people from three generations gather to learn about traffic safety, and the “Seniors Home Visit Project,” in which traffic safety guidance is provided at home to seniors unable to attend traffic safety seminars.

Reflective Material and Traffic Safety

In 2005, fatalities from traffic accidents declined for the fifth consecutive year, and they fell below 7,000 for the first time in 49 years (since 1956). Fatalities among pedestrians remained high, however, reaching 2,104 and accounting for more than 30% of all traffic-related deaths. Of these, approximately 70% occurred while people were walking at night. Moreover, the fatality rate of casualties at night was around 3.8 times that of casualties during the day.

Given this situation, achieving the government's goal of “reducing traffic fatalities to less than 5,000 within a 10-year period” will depend significantly on being able to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths at night.

On the other hand, although reflective material is widely recognized as an effective means of preventing traffic accidents at night, the number of people who own or use such material is low. Taking this situation into account, the national government has been endeavoring to prevent nighttime accidents by stepping up its calls to pedestrians to use reflective material as a means of improving their visibility to drivers.

In this section, we detail the activities engaged in by the National Police Agency and the prefectural police departments to improve traffic safety, primarily their coordinated campaign to encourage the use of reflective material during FY2005.

Pedestrian fatalities during the day and at night during 2005

Pedestrian fatalities during the day and at night during 2005
(CSV data)

Source: National Police Agency

Survey results on awareness, ownership, and use of reflective material by pedestrians

Survey results on awareness, ownership, and use of reflective material by pedestrians
(CSV data)

Cabinet Office:
Special Survey on Traffic Safety (December 2004)
1 Reflective devices and visibility

Reflective material employs a property called retroflection, in which the material isoptically designed to reflect light back in the direction of the light source, no matter what itsdirection. Light from a car's headlights, when shined on a reflective material, will bereturned in the direction of the car, which is the source of the light. When this happens, thereflective material will appear very bright to the driver, who will thus recognize thepresence of a pedestrian from a long distance away.

2 Campaigns by the National Police Agency

National Police Agency home page, Educational video on reflective material

In conjunction with awareness-raising activity by prefectural police departments, the National Police Agency took steps to expand the campaign to promote reflective material to a national audience. To publicize its efforts, the agency produced an educational video and established a home page on reflective material, which it maintained between September 2005 and January 2006.

Number of registered monitors: approximately 5,500 persons (male, 63%; female, 37%)

Principal types of reflective material used

Principal types of reflective material used
(CSV data)

Results of survey

3 Principal public-information and awareness-raising activities by prefectural police

The police program urging the community to use reflective patches
The police program urging the community to use reflective patches

4 Promoting the use of reflective material
2-3 Enforcing safe driving practices
Developing better and more effective measures for elderly drivers
Programs for evaluating the competency of senior drivers, which are required for persons over the age of 70, include tests for competencies that are necessary for safe driving. In these programs, participants may be asked either to drive a vehicle or to use driver-competence testing equipment to arrive at evaluations. The goal is to have elderly drivers become aware of the changes that are occurring in their physical functioning and to offer advice and guidance based on the results of the findings. Under existing regulations, persons who participate in these programs are not required to take courses that they normally would be required to upon renewing their licenses. In 2005, a total of 1,558,095 persons participated in these programs. Traffic safety agencies also organized classes for drivers between 65 and 70 years of age, which are held in conjunction with license renewals. These classes endeavored to teach seniors about their own driving tendencies and about the characteristics of accidents in which the elderly were commonly involved.
2-4 Advancing vehicle safety
Improving and strengthening the recall system
To prevent the recurrence of fraudulent activity surrounding recalls, the nation took the following steps. First, the nation strengthened the information gathering system for automobile defects by publicizing to drivers the availability of the automobile defect hotline and requiring the manufactures to issue regular reports on the problems that were arising, and so forth. Second, the nation strengthened its auditing capabilities to permit priority auditing of suspicious manufacturers and to make more resources available for dealer audits. Third, related agencies expanded and improved their technical inspection capabilities by increasing the number of professional recall evaluation personnel (who are experts on automobile technology), by establishing recall inspection and investigation committees, and so forth.
2-5 Improving rescue and emergency services systems
Enhancing the effectiveness of the doctors-on-helicopters program
The doctors-on-helicopters program, which uses specially equipped emergency helicopters and deploys to emergency sites with a physician on board, got started with the aim of providing better medical care at emergency sites and during patient transportation. The helicopters enable the medical care to commence earlier and patients to be transferred more rapidly to hospitals. As of the end of FY2005, ten emergency stations in nine prefectures operated such helicopters. Operationally, through enhanced coordination among related agencies and groups, the nation made progress on several fronts in this program, including in the sharing of information on zones and locations where helicopters can safely land, in the preparation of an “Operational Manual,” and in the development of a common-frequency radio system.

Section 2 Railway Transport

1 Trends in Railway Accidents
1-1 Operations accidents in recent years

9Operations accidents
Refers to train collisions, derailments, train fires, accidents at rail crossing, accidents along other roads, accidents that result in injury or death to persons (other than from the foregoing five types of accidents), and accidents that result in material damage to property (other than from the foregoing six types of accidents). Street rail accidents are defined in the same manner as railway operations accidents.

Changes in Railway Operational Accidents and Casualties

Changes in Railway Operational Accidents and Casualties

  1. Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
  2. Fatalities are defined as deaths occurring within 24 hours of an accident.

Future Directions in Railway Transportation Safety Measures
- From the Eighth Fundamental Traffic Safety Program -

1 Basic Thinking

Railways are an indispensable part of the daily life of the nation because of their ability to transport large numbers of people and large quantities of freight rapidly and on time. Given the high-density use of railways today, a single accident will not only severely disrupt the benefits enjoyed by their users but can also cause enormous damage. The nation, therefore, needs to advance various safety measures and to establish an unshakeable trust among the people in the reliability of its railroads.

2 Objectives
3 Measures
(1) Perspectives

To solve the problems that lie behind individual accidents and to implement effective measures that profit from the lessons of past accidents, the nation must advance measures that deal comprehensively with such issues as improving the railway traffic environment, assuring safe operations of railways, and enhancing the safety of train cars.

Automatic train stop (ATS) device
Automatic train stop (ATS) device

(2) Measures to be implemented
2 Railway Traffic Safety Measures
2-1 Improving the railway traffic environment
Upgrading operational safety devices
Trains are being operated at increasingly higher speeds, on increasingly crowded tracks. To ensure the safety of train operations under such conditions, the nation will promote the improvement of centralized traffic control devices (CTC). Also, based on a plan for emergency improvements that was adopted in the wake of the JR West Fukuchiyama Line derailment, regulators have directed railway companies to complete the installation of ATS devices (automatic train stop) which prevent trains from traveling above allowable speeds on sharply curving sections of tracks. The deadline for the completion of this work has been set at 2009.
Strengthening the earthquake resistance of railway structures
Based on evaluations made by the “Conference on Shinkansen Derailment Countermeasures,” the nation implemented measures to strengthen tunnels where reinforcement against earthquakes became necessary following the confirmation of active faults along their routes. The nation also adopted measures to strengthen the earthquake resistance of pillars that are supporting elevated tracks. The problematic pillars have been weakened by above-ground concrete laid near their midway points. The nation also took steps to strengthen pillars for elevated tracks along other sections of the bullet train route and along older commuter and express lines.
2-2 Assuring the safe operations of railways
Improving educational programs for trains crews and safety specialists; enhancing the basic competence of personnel
To ensure that those seeking to operate power cars (hereinafter, “train operators”) have the temperament and other qualities to perform the job competently, the nation implemented a system of exams for train operators. It also convened an evaluation committee that examined the issue of how to enhance the competence of train operators. This committee looked into various methods of educating train operators and of improving their occupational environment.
Improving the management of train operations and crews
In the area of traffic control systems, regulators directed railway companies to take steps to establish rapid and efficient driver command systems. These steps included increasing the number of radios available for operational commands and intra-crew communications, and introducing centralized traffic control (CTC) devices. In terms of personnel management, regulators directed railway companies to foster a greater awareness of the importance of safety among their employees. They also directed train companies to improve their systems of safety management by establishing procedures that enable them to closely monitor the psychological and physical condition of their crews at the time they begin enable the crews to perform their jobs competently and to ensure safe driving.

Accident Investigation and Safety Measures Relating to the Derailment Accident on the JR West Fukuchiyama Line

On April 25, 2005, the first five cars of a train traveling on a curved section of the track between Tsukaguchi Station and Amagasaki Station on the JR West Fukuchiyama Line derailed, catapulting the first two cars into a condominium on the left side of the tracks. This catastrophic accident resulted in 107 deaths and 549 injuries (as reported by the Emergency and Rescue Section of the Fire and Disaster Management Agency at 9:00 a.m., May 24). Currently, members of the Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission (ARAIC) are working diligently to uncover the causes of the accident. An outline of the course of the investigation to date, and of the safety measures adopted as a result, is as follows.

1 Accident investigation

On April 25, ARAIC sent two commissioners and five railroad accident investigators to the accident site. From then until August 31, the commission chairman, ARAIC commissioners, and commission experts spent a total of 30 man-days at the site; the bureau chief and railroad accident investigators spent another 256 man-days there. Recognizing the urgency of considering measures that would prevent the reoccurrence of such accidents, ARAIC issued an interim report on its investigations on September 6 and made a number of recommendations to the Minister of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT). Its recommendations touched on such issues as enhancing the performance of ATS devices, making sure that other trains are protected from secondary damage at the time of such accidents, installing and using devices that record the condition of trains on the tracks, and enhancing the precision of speed sensors. The commission is currently continuing its investigations with the aim of arriving at its final conclusions on the causes of the accident.

2 Safety measures

Following the accident, MLIT instructed railway companies to complete installation of ATS and other devices which prevent trains from traveling at excess speeds around sharp curves on the track. The ministry also convened its Technical Standards Evaluation Committee to reassess the levels of safety required by current technical standards in light of accidents that have occurred in recent years. In November, the committee issued its interim findings, which proposed to the ministry that standards be set for the installation of speed control devices at curves and switches and at the end of tracks. Based on these recommendations, MLIT promulgated its revised technical standards on March 24, 2006.

Another important development in terms of safety measures was the passage on March 29, 2006 of the “Law to Amend the Railway Business Law to Enhance Transportation Safety.” The aim of the amendment was to establish systems of safety management within railway companies, including systems that deal with the fitness and suitability of train operators. In addition, MLIT convened an expert committee to look into the question of train operator suitability. This group, called the Committee to Evaluate Measures to Enhance Train Operator Fitness and Suitability, is examining ways of improving the education of train operators and of enhancing the work place environment.

MLIT also ordered JR West to formulate a Safety Improvement Plan that proposes radical measures aimed at preventing a reoccurrence of such accidents. Through audits of JR West's headquarters and branch offices, the ministry has been monitoring the company's efforts to implement the plan's proposals. On November 15, MLIT notified the company to continue working steadily on the plan. It is continuing to audit the company's performance and to issue guidance as necessary.

Expediting Measures to Eliminate Grade-Level Crossings

Expediting Measures to Eliminate Grade-Level Crossings
(CSV data)

  • The three major metropolitan areas encompass the TokyoMetropolitan Area and the following prefectures: Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa; Aichi, Mie, Gifu, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto,and Hyogo
  • Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, 2004

Despite being in a long-term decline, accidents at rail crossings in Japan remain a problem. One such accident occurred on March 15, 2005, at a “rail crossing that does not open” near Takenotsuka Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line. Four people were injured, two fatally. Rail crossing accidents account for roughly half of all railway operationsaccidents, and many crossings still exist that require improvements.

There are approximately 36,000 grade-level train crossings in Japan, of which roughly 600 fall under the classification of “crossings that do not open.” This characterization refers to crossings where, during peak traffic hours, barriers remain down for over 40 minutes in a given one-hour period. Of these, 95% is concentrated within the metropolitan areas of Japan's three largest cities, Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

MLIT has endeavored to replace grade-level crossings with overpasses or underpasses, and to carry out other structural improvements and to install new safety equipment. But to expedite work at sites where the need for improvement has reached a critical point, MLIT will adopt the following measures. By taking these and other steps to improve the safety and flow of traffic through level crossings, MLIT is aiming to reduce accidents at rail crossings in 2010 by 10% compared to 2005.

Measures to expedite improvements at grade-level crossings
(1) Comprehensive review of traffic at railway crossings

MLIT will conduct a comprehensive survey of conditions at all of the 36,000 rail crossings across the country. It carried out emergency evaluations at approximately 2,600 sites where the problems were deemed to be serious.

{Major items of evaluation}

Structure etc. of the grade-level crossings (width of road across tracks, width of pedestrian walkways across tracks, shape of track at crossing, etc.)

Traffic conditions (length of lines of cars waiting at crossings, the number of cars waiting in these lines, etc.)

(2) Establishing list of crossings requiring emergency improvements and formulating a 5-year improvement plan

Based on the results of the comprehensive survey, MLIT will determine which crossings fall under the category of “crossings that do not open” or “crossings with extremely narrow walking space” and require emergency renovations. MLIT will announce this list to the public. For crossings that require emergency action, MLIT will formulate 5-year improvement plans that take into consideration local needs.

(3) Emergency measures based on 5-year plans

In accordance with these 5-year plans, MLIT will take a comprehensive approach that encompasses both “measures that make immediate impacts,” such as widening of pedestrian walkways, and “radical measures,” such as continuous overpass and underpass projects. These projects will be carried out on an emergency basis within narrow spans of time.

  • Walkway widening and other immediate impact measures will be implemented at approximately 1,300 sites over the next five years
  • Continuous grade separation and underpass construction at approximately 1,400 sites will be completed in roughly one half originally scheduled times

Outline of policy flow

Outline of policy flow

Comprehensive Safety Measures for Public Transportation

In recent days, public transportation has suffered a series of major accidents and safety-related setbacks, including the derailment accident on the JR West Fukuchiyama Line in April 2005 and problems in the airline industry caused by human error and by parts and mechanical malfunctioning. Many are pointing their fingers at a background of human errors, such as an inadequate commitment among senior managers to safety first, insufficient communication and information sharing between management and operational personnel, and between different divisions. Eliminating these problems and restoring the public's trust in public transportation has become an urgent issue.

Consequently, in June 2005, MLIT established the Committee to Evaluate Measures for the Prevention of Accidents Caused by Human Error in Public Transportation (chairperson: Administrative Vice-Minister, MLIT). This committee accepted testimony from outside experts and reviewed examples of efforts by industry to come up with comprehensive and effective measures against human error in public transportation systems.

In addition to implementing sector-specific safety measures for automobiles, railways, marine vessels and airlines, MLIT is implementing the following measures that cut across industry lines.

(1) Building safety management capabilities; sustaining safety management efforts

MLIT is seeking to ensure transportation safety in land, maritime and air systems by imbuing the organizations of carriers and other providers with a sense of the importance of safety, and by helping to create corporate cultures that understand and effectively implement transportation safety measures. MLIT has mandated that all companies involved in the respective areas of transportation (automobiles, railways, marine vessels and airlines) prepare safety management regulations that detail operational policies relating to transportation safety. MLIT has required that these regulations also describe organizational arrangements and methods of communication on safety-related issues in each division, stipulate the implementation of internal audits, and provide for the continual review and improvement of operational practices. MLIT has also made it obligatory for each company to appoint a manager responsible for administering and controlling safety. MLIT is also encouraging companies to take the initiative to review and improve operational practices in order to ensure top leadership's involvement in assuring the safety of transportation. In this way, MLIT will foster the creation of safety management systems that involve everyone from top management to operational personnel working as a team. In addition, MLIT will introduce a Management Safety Evaluation System by which the national government monitors top management's involvement in safety management.

To carry out the above measures, MLIT drafted legislation to amend certain parts of existing law. This legislation resulted in the “Law to Amend the Railway Business Law to Enhance Transportation Safety,” which was passed in the 164th session of the Diet (law no. 19, 2006) and later promulgated.

MLIT is also preparing for the implementation of the Management Safety Evaluation System by developing guidelines that prescribe for all modes of transportation a common section within each company's safety management regulations dealing with the new system.

(2) Technological developments to prevent human error

As transportation systems become more sophisticated and traffic on these systems grows increasingly congested, human-machine systems will continue to accelerate in sophistication and complexity.

In response, MLIT will encourage the adoption of new and sophisticated technological systems that help prevent human error. It will also actively support the development of technologies that alert train operators and others to potentially dangerous situations and that assist those managing transportation systems to monitor the status of the vehicles operating in their systems.


1 Maritime Accident Trends
1-1 Maritime accidents and rescues in 2005

Changes in Vessels, Fatalities and Missing People in Maritime Accidents

Changes in Vessels, Fatalities and Missing People in Maritime Accidents
(CSV data)

  1. Source: Japan Coast Guard
  2. Figures for fatalities and missing people include those who, due to illness or other reasons, became unable to operate the vessel and died as it drifted.
1-2 Major constituents of 2005 maritime accidents and rescues, including pleasure boats

1Pleasure boats is a general term denoting motor boats, yachts, water bikes and other small vessels used by individuals for leisure, sports or recreation.

Planned Maritime-Safety Initiatives
- From the Eighth Fundamental Traffic Safety Program -

1 Basic thinking

Because maritime accidents can have untold consequences for economic activity and the natural environment and lead to loss of precious life, the top priority is prevention. There is a need to enforce maritime safety measures aimed at securing the capability to mount prompt and appropriate search and rescue missions for crew members and others involved in maritime accidents and to aim for a society free of maritime accidents.

2 Objectives
3 Measures
(1) Perspective

There is a need to implement more effective measures by extending and bolstering the capability to mount rescues promptly and appropriately in coastal waters while taking various steps to prevent maritime accidents.

(2) Measures to be implemented

Learning to put on life jackets
Learning to put on life jackets

2 Current Maritime Traffic Safety Measures
2-1 Maritime environment enhancements
Traffic safety enhancements
In accordance with the Priority Plan for Social Infrastructure Development, projects were carried out to develop ports, harbors, and selected waterways, and to enhance the earthquake resistance of ports and harbors. Under the Long-term Development Plan for Fisheries Infrastructure (FY2002-2006), improvements were made to fishing-port and area facilities to promote greater safety for fishing vessels.
2-2 Maritime safety campaigns
Safety programs based on study and analysis of measures to prevent a recurrence of maritime accidents
A review of 2004 maritime accidents revealed that some 70% involved commercial fishing vessels or pleasure boats, and approximately 70% were the result of human error, such as failure to maintain adequate watch. To address this, the government sponsored programs in 2005 to encourage use of life jackets, enforce rules on maintaining watch and other measures to prevent maritime accidents based on recent accident trends and the characteristics of each type of vessel. These included lectures on accident prevention and visiting vessels to provide instruction.
2-3 Promotion of vessel safety
Safety measures for pleasure boats
Measures were implemented to enhance rescuing capabilities along coastal areas susceptible to maritime accidents, including more efficient use of patrol boats and aircraft, as well as initiatives to utilize fully the maneuverability, search and vertical-rescue capabilities of helicopters, especially at times and in areas where pleasure boats are active.

Ensuring Safe Operation of Vessels


1 Air Traffic Accident Trends
1-1 Air-traffic accidents in recent years

A total of 23 accidents (involving Japanese commercial aircraft anywhere in the world or foreign commercial aircraft in Japan) occurred in 2005, resulting in 16 fatalities and 18 injuries. In recent years, there have been only two or three accidents per year involving large aircraft, mainly as a result of air turbulence. Most accidents involved small aircraft.

1-2 Problems involving air-traffic safety in 2005
Safety problems involving air carriers
Since January 2005, there has been a noticeable increase in problems resulting from human error or aircraft defects among Japanese air carriers. Notably, the Japan Airline group has experienced a series of safety problems, including improper use of undercarriage components in a cargo carrier and violations of traffic-control instructions at New Chitose Airport and at Incheon International Airport in South Korea (on January 22 and March 11).
Safety problems with air-traffic control
On 16 August 2005, there was a problem of improper handling of flight plan clearance for departing aircraft between a pilot and air-traffic controller at Niigata Airport and a similar problem at Miyazaki Airport on September 23. On November 2, as a result of non-provision of a landing clearance to an arriving aircraft by air traffic control, the aircraft had to abort a landing and restart its approach at Osaka International Airport. All of these incidents involved problems with air-traffic control.

Recent Air-Traffic Safety Problems and Countermeasures

1. Safety problems involving air carriers

There have been no accidents resulting in passenger fatalities among Japanese air carriers since the crash of JAL Flight 123 at Mt. Osutaka in 1985. The few aircraft accidents per year that occur mainly involve air turbulence. However, since January 2005, there have been a series of safety problems resulting from human error or aircraft defects, although none has resulted in an aircraft accident.

Specifically, in the short interval up to the time the Japan Airline group received an order from MLIT to improve its operations on March 17, 2005, there was a series of problems, including improper use of undercarriage components in a cargo carrier and violations of traffic-control instructions at New Chitose Airport and at Incheon International Airport in South Korea. Since the start of 2006, there have also been incidents, including delays in performing inspections because of poor maintenance management.

Incidents have also been reported with other air carriers, including violation of air-traffic control directions, pilots following erroneous altimeter directions, and operation of aircraft beyond the deadline for performing repairs.

2. Actions taken by MLIT

Planned Air-Traffic Safety Initiatives
- From the Eighth Fundamental Traffic Safety Program -

1 Basic thinking

To implement air-traffic safety measures progressively to reduce aircraft accidents and

to prevent safety problems that could lead to accidents.

2 Objective

To continue the record of zero fatal accidents among specified national air carriers2 that has held since 1986.

2 Specified national air carrier: national air carrier operating aircraft with a passenger capacity exceeding 100 persons or maximum take-off weight of 50,000kg.

3 Measures
(1) Perspective

There is an urgent need to restore the people's trust in the safety of air transport by halting the series of problems that can be regarded as predictors of accidents.

Problems of congestion and delays at airports and in the air are becoming more serious with the growing concentration of air traffic. Given forecasts of further increases in air-traffic volume going forward, there is an urgent need to establish safer and more efficient air-traffic systems in the air while expanding airport capacity, starting with extensions to Haneda Airport.

(2) Measures to be implemented

Bolstering air-traffic safety measures

2 Current Air Traffic Safety Measures
2-1 Ensuring safe operation of aircraft
Initiatives to ensure safety after abolition of regulations to balance supply and demand through guidance and supervision of air carriers and strengthening of air-safety systems
Since January 2005, there has been a series of safety problems among Japanese air carriers caused by human error and aircraft defects. Notably, after the Japan Airline group experienced a series of safety problems, including improper use of undercarriage components in a cargo carrier and violations of traffic-control instructions at New Chitose Airport and at Incheon International Airport in South Korea, MLIT on March 17 issued an order to improve business operations to identify the cause of the problems and conduct comprehensive safety inspections, review the company's safety-assurance organization, and redouble efforts to raise the safety consciousness of employees. On April 14, MLIT received a report from the Japan Airlines group outlining remedial actions addressing common factors and reasons for the series of problems and measures to prevent a recurrence, including references to problems that had occurred since MLIT issued its order to improve business operations. MLIT has continued to perform on-the-spot inspections to monitor the implementation of improvement measures. Moreover, as there have also been safety problems among other air carriers, such as violation of air-traffic control directions and flights based on erroneous altimeter directions, MLIT has taken a serious view of the situation and has implemented air-transportation safety measures, including use of random inspections and strengthened surveillance and supervision of air carriers.
Measures to deal with air-traffic control problems
In light of not a small number of safety-related incidents involving air-traffic control, MLIT gave priority to preventive measures, including safety audits of air traffic control facilities.
2-2 Ensuring aircraft safety
Improving maintenance and examination of aircraft
In addition to specified examinations of carriers and regular safety inspections, MLIT has directed carriers to address ongoing air problems by identifying the causes of aircraft defects and preventing recurrences and has introduced random on-the-spot inspections in order to strengthen surveillance and supervision of air carriers.

IN FY2006


Section 1 Road Transport Safety

1 Road Environment Enhancements
Provision of walking space with priority on pedestrian safety

With the cooperation of local communities, the national government will promote traffic-safety measures focused on pedestrians by actively implementing initiatives to build and upgrade sidewalks along school roads, residential roads and major roads in urban areas.

2 Dissemination and Reinforcement of Traffic Safety Messages
Traffic safety education for the elderly

The government will introduce the “Participation, Experience, and Practice-based Project to Promote Safe Driving for Seniors,” which aims to promote regional traffic safety education for seniors by providing senior traffic instructors (Silver Leaders) with the necessary knowledge about traffic safety and improving their leadership skills. It will also implement the “Central Training Program for Silver Leaders” to improve Silver Leaders' ability to educate sub-leaders.

In addition, it will implement the “Traffic Safety Awareness Program for Seniors,” encompassing the “Cross-generation Sharing Project,” in which people from three generations gather to learn about traffic safety, and the “Seniors Home Visit Project,” in which traffic safety guidance is provided at home to seniors unable to attend traffic safety seminars.

Promotion of safe use of bicycles

One aim of this program will be to instill an understanding among cyclists that bicycles are a form of vehicle and that when using roads, they must comply with the rules applying to all vehicles and observe road manners.

To prevent traffic accidents involving cyclists as well as nuisance behavior by bicycles, the government will strengthen educational activities concerning the correct way to ride a bicycle with due regard for pedestrians and other vehicles.

Promoting wearing of rear seat belts

The government will promote the wearing of rear seatbelts as part of its program to foster understanding of the benefits of seatbelt usage and the correct method of wearing belts. It will actively utilize all opportunities and media to educate the public in cooperation with local public authorities and relevant agencies and organizations. In light of data concerning accidents in which people are thrown from cars, it will promote the wearing of seatbelts by rear-seated passengers on national expressways.

3 Ensuring Safe Driving
Developing better and more effective measures for elderly drivers

In order to prevent traffic accidents among elderly drivers, the government will utilize lecture programs and classes for elderly drivers at the time of license renewal to advance traffic-safety education, including making elderly drivers aware of situations in which elderly drivers become involved in traffic accidents as well as the changes that are occurring in their physical functioning. For elderly drivers, in particular, it will endeavor to improve the current situation by studying the addition of new physical-function tests and effective ways of enhancing drivers' awareness of the significance of the results.

The government will also study measures to improve the relevance of tests by conducting a detailed analysis of the circumstances surrounding traffic accidents involving seniors. It will also endeavor to identify drivers with suspected dementia and to take administrative action to cancel the licenses of persons thought likely to pose a hazard to safe driving.

4 Ensuring Vehicle Safety
Advancing vehicle safety

In the field of safety measures to prevent accidents from occurring, the government aims to take advantage of recent technology trends to expand and strengthen safety standards, promote the development and popularization of advanced safety vehicles (ASV), and to provide users with vehicle-assessment information. It will implement these steps in the interest of facilitating further improvements.

5 Improving Rescue and Emergency Services Systems
Advancing the training and deployment of emergency life-saving technicians and doctor cars

In order to improve pre-hospital care (emergency treatment at the scene of an emergency or during transportation to hospital), the government will promote the use of doctor cars (ambulances with a doctor aboard), train emergency life-saving technicians in order to achieve a more systematic deployment of such personnel at fire stations throughout the country and promote the use of lectures and practical training sessions to enable technicians to perform quickly and efficiently tracheal intubation and the administration of drugs, which are now possible under a broader definition of emergency treatment. It will also work to improve medical-control systems to ensure high-quality emergency treatment performed by emergency life-saving technicians and other emergency teams, under the guidance of a doctor.

Section 2 Railway Transport Safety

1 Railway Environment Enhancements
Installation of operational safety devices

Based on a plan for emergency improvements that was adopted in the wake of the JR West Fukuchiyama Line derailment, railway companies will be required to upgrade and improve safety equipment, including completion of the installation of ATS devices to prevent trains from traveling above allowable speeds on sharply curving sections of tracks, by FY2009. The government will also push for installation and upgrading of railway wireless and other communications equipment to enable prompt transmission of necessary information in emergencies, such as accidents or earthquakes.

2 Assuring the Safe Operations of Railways
Safety audits of railway companies

To ensure the safe operation of railways, the government will conduct safety audits of railway companies and provide appropriate guidance on the state of equipment and maintenance of rolling stock, train operation, training of crews and safety-management systems. It expects the company leadership itself to be cognizant of the situation at sites where safety may be an issue and, because a proper internal reporting system is essential to ensuring safe transportation of passengers, to utilize various opportunities to instruct and guide employees.

Furthermore, the government will press for the creation of a safety-management apparatus involving all levels from top management to crew and will introduce a Safety Management Assessment program, which it will use to confirm the process as part of the effort to ensure the safe operation of railways.


1 Maritime Environment Enhancements
Upgrading of safety facilities

In accordance with the Priority Plan for Social Infrastructure Development, projects will be carried out in FY2006 to develop breakwaters, waterways, anchorages, and other infrastructure, in view of the growing size and speed of vessels. Action will also be taken to create emergency refuge harbors for vessels operating in coastal waters to avert imminent danger.

2 Ensuring Safe Operation of Vessels
Radical overhaul of pilot system

A bill was submitted to the 164th Diet session to revise partially the Pilotage Law relating to the training and employment of pilots, maritime-traffic safety assurance, and improvement of the efficiency and relevance of piloting operations (Bill to Revise Partially the Harbor Law to Strengthen Infrastructure for Maritime Distribution of Goods). This bill was enacted in May 2006 and outlines measures to be taken with the shift to the new system from April 2007.

3 Improvement of Safety Measures for Small Vessels
Increasing life-jacket usage

As a large percentage of fatalities or missing persons resulting from maritime accidents or falls from fishing boats or pleasure boats involve people who were not wearing life jackets, relevant ministries and agencies will collaborate with local governments and related organizations to promote vigorously and effectively a campaign to encourage people to protect themselves and to communicate the effectiveness of wearing a life jacket in order to maximize lifejacket use.

The authorities will also step up activities to counsel and police persons who violate regulations requiring the wearing of a lifejacket and will review regulations covering the wearing of lifejackets in order to increase lifejacket usage.


1 Ensuring Safe Operation of Aircraft
Strengthening supervision of air carriers

In view of the growing complexity and diversity of airline corporate structures, the government will radically strengthen the existing on-the-spot inspection process by establishing a dedicated auditing organization. At the same time, it will improve the training of auditing personnel in order to ensure that audits are conducted in a professional and appropriate manner.

Additionally, it will press for the creation of a safety-management apparatus involving all levels from top management to crew and will introduce a Safety Management Assessment program, which it will use to confirm the process as part of the effort to ensure the safe operation of aircraft.

Switch to safety administration emphasizing prevention

In order to prevent accidents and major problems from occurring, the government will adopt safety-administration procedures to emphasize prevention, requiring airlines to report on events that hinder the normal and safe operation of aircraft by collecting and analyzing safety information, and will instruct airlines on safety measures and review safety standards. It will also review procedures for training airline employees and introduce an English certification system for pilots to improve the communication skills of pilots in order to prevent human error.

2 Ensuring Aircraft Safety
Improving aircraft maintenance and inspection

New carriers are entering the market and the maintenance systems of carriers are becoming more diversified, with some carriers subcontracting the management of maintenance to other companies. In order to improve inspections in such an environment, the government will work to improve the quality of maintenance inspectors through training programs and revise the operating procedures for safety audits. It will also establish a dedicated auditing organization to strengthen the surveillance and supervision of carriers' maintenance systems and, at the same time, improve the maintenance-auditing function in order to address the increase in the number of new carriers.