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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 November 7 - 13  > Cost-cutting race helps create EV accidents
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2012 November 7 - 13 [POLITICS]

Cost-cutting race helps create EV accidents

November 9, 2012
A Schindler elevator caused a fatal accident in Ishikawa’s Kanazawa City on October 31 following the 2006 accident in Tokyo resulting in a death of a 16-year-old boy.

In the wake of the previous accident, the Japanese Communist Party pointed out that excessive cost-cutting efforts and price wars in the private sector after the government deregulation policy in the late 1990s had contributed to the fatal accident.

At the same time, the JCP in the Diet demanded that information on flawed elevators be made public, technical standards for elevators be reviewed, and elevator maintenance and checking work be regulated.

The demands made by the JCP motivated the government to eventually revise the building code in 2009, obliging building owners to install a dual-brake safety device. The revised law, however, excludes already existing elevators from this obligation.

Then, another accident killing a woman occurred late last month at a Kanazawa hotel. The hotel management installed the elevator in 1998 and thus was exempted from the obligation.

The government was to start subsidizing up to 1.3 million yen as an incentive measure to defray the cost of installation of the dual-brake system in April of next year. The budget earmarked for the plan, however, is enough to cover only several thousands out of about 700,000 elevators remaining without the system. The government measure is obviously too late and inadequate.

The Apa Group, the hotel owner, despite knowing that it uses the same type of Schindler elevator as involved in the previous accident in 2006, has failed to prepare secondary safety devices. It may be because the hotel considers cost before safety since each installation costs 5-10 million yen.

Meanwhile, accident-prone elevators made by Schindler Elevator K.K. may be defective in the first place.

It is necessary to thoroughly investigate the causes of the accident in order to make clear the responsibilities of the government, the hotel, and the manufacturer.
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