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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 December 19 - 25  > 30% cut in maintenance budget kills 9 in tunnel accident
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2012 December 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

30% cut in maintenance budget kills 9 in tunnel accident

December 19, 2012
A fall of tunnel ceiling slabs which killed nine people is still vivid in many Japanese people’s memory. Since road-related public corporations were privatized in 2005, a subsequent company has neglected to remove dangerous ceilings, despite being aware of the dangers.

The privatization has contributed to the failure to implement safety measures, which led to the fatal accident.

Akahata on December 18 learned that the former public corporation before 2005 had dismantled ceiling panels in 19 tunnels of the same-type where the cave-in occurred because the operator had found that they were unsafe.

After the privatization, the successor Central Nippon Expressway Company (NEXCO) has been promoting additional cost-cutting targets while keeping a 30%-cut in maintenance costs from the 2002 level.

Sources close to NEXCO confessed, “The company must have known of the dangers, but I’ve heard that it did defer improvement works of the extremely long Sasago Tunnel (the accident site) because the works would be too costly and too extensive. After the privatization, NEXCO has focused on only visible things such as adding rest areas. Its examination-maintenance task has been messed up.”

Past related past articles:
> Operator of collapsed tunnel prioritized profits over safety [December 6, 2012]
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