Traffic congestion in Tokyo, Japan, has been an ever-increasing problem since the end of world war two.
Traffic congestion in Tokyo, Japan, has been an ever-increasing problem since the end of world war two. A White Paper issued recently by Japanese police authorities gave the figures for road accidents between January and September as 8,347 dead and 200,000 injured.
Over twenty years, the number of vehicles in the Japanese capital has increased ten fold. During that time some ten thousand people have died in street accidents alone. In 1939, there were 60,000 cars on Tokyo roads compared with the present 600,000.
In an effort to improve the situation, the Diet enacted a new traffic law. Its aim is two-fold: Firstly, it intends to bring the old law up-to-date and secondly, by enforcing the new law - mainly concerned with decreasing traffic congestion - it is hoped that the heavy toll of life will be reduced considerably.
A large proportion of Tokyo's 1 1/2 million licence holders do not own their own vehicles - this is thought to be one of the chief causes of the trouble.
Scenes of Tokyo traffic jams at the end of the year bring to mind the serious Christmas road toll in other parts of the world. In Britain over Christmas the provisional total of deaths was given as 109. The year before there were 189 killed over the same 4 days. In the United States, 474 people - twenty less than 1959 - died during the Christmas holiday. Australia had 57 road deaths - eight less than the year before.
But in Sweden only one person was reported killed at Christmas. This was credited to a 50-miles-per-hour speed limit imposed throughout the country on December 22.