Japan: Two children dead as car ploughs into nursery outing

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Police remove vehicles from the scene after a car ploughed into a group of kindergarten children leaving at least four of them critically injured at a crossing in Otsu, Shiga prefecture on Wednesday. JIJI PRESS/AFP

A car ploughed into a group of kindergarten children in western Japan’s Shiga region on Wednesday, killing two toddlers and injuring others, with one still in critical condition, police said.

Police said the car veered onto the pavement after making “contact” with another larger vehicle that was turning at a junction in Otsu City.

The accident killed a girl and a boy, both two years old, a police spokesman said.

“The [smaller] car rammed into a group of 13 nursery school children and three teachers who were walking on the pavement,” the police said in a statement.

A police spokesman said others in the group suffered injuries but declined to give further details. One remained in critical condition, a police spokesman said.

There were no immediate details on the teachers.

The children and their teachers were on the pavement near a crossing when the small vehicle crashed into them.

Japanese nursery schools regularly take children to the local park for playtime or out on short excursions during the day.

“We’re very shocked and terribly saddened by this ghastly accident,” the company operating the nursery said in a statement on their Facebook page.

“We are truly sorry, thinking of the future of the children who passed away.”

Footage on local media in the aftermath of the accident showed one car had veered up off the road and onto the pavement. A second car that appeared to have been damaged in a crash could be seen still on the road.

Police said they had arrested the drivers of both cars – two women aged 52 and 62.