On a hot summer weekend in Tokyo, about three million people pack the beaches within an hour or two from the Japanese capital.
On a hot summer weekend in Tokyo, about three million people pack the beaches within an hour or two from the Japanese capital. Many average a steady 40 to 60 on most weekends.
Most of the drownings can be directly attributed to the sheer mass of people in the relatively small water spaces. Officials also add that many adults are unable to swim, and with so many people swimming at one time nobody notices if someone sinks and fails to surface.
Police records show that over 1,100 people have been drowned on Japanese beaches since June this year, and another 160 are listed as missing. Last weekend (6-7 August), 75 people died and another 27 are still missing -- the highest weekend toll this year.
SYNOPSIS: Three million people pack the beaches within two hours drive of Tokyo on a good weekend. But many of them do not survive the day -- drownings average a steady 40 to 60 every weekend. Police records show that over 1,100 people have been drowned since July this year on Japanese beaches, and 160 are still listed as missing.
Most of the deaths are attributed to the sheer mass of people in the water. If someone sinks and fails to surface, the chances are nobody will notice.
A major complaint is the shortage of lifeguards to watch closely over the vast number of swimmers. At Kamakura Beach, one guard watched over three-quarter of a million people along a one mile strip of sand.
For those who prefer swimming pools, there is little relief from the overcrowding. Oiso Beach - complex of five pools about an hour and a half by train from Tokyo -- attracting 15,000 people on a warm Sunday. For those who cannot swim properly, rubber boats circulated in a mechanical current provide an alternative.
At least 6,000 people throng this pool at any given moment watched over by two lifeguards. People complain that more are needed, and that the existing guards are not always concentrating on their jobs. In a recent weekend, 75 people were drowned and a further 27 are missing -- the highest tool this year.