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Parents sue Prefecture for son’s playground death

Date Posted: 2004-04-15

Grieving parents are suing Okinawa Prefecture in their son’s death last summer at at Ginowan playground.

The youngster, seven-year-old Ryuunoske Hayashi, was playing on the swingset with his sister. He was pushing her on the box-like swing, and attempted to jump on while it was moving. He slipped, was pinned beneath the swing, and bled to death.

His father is taking the case to court, charging that the swingset is unsafe because it didn’t have enough space between the swing and the ground. “You never know how children are playing,” he says, “if the space was wide enough my son wouldn’t die.”

The parents are seeking unspecified monetary damages, but say more importantly “the prefecture should have posted notice to everyone that this swing is dangerous, so ‘be careful while playing’ and advising not to play on the swing.”

A prefecture official is telling parents “No, no. Until that accident everybody was happy playing with this swing, and besides, nobody had complained about this swing.”

He charged “it was your son’s fault. Your son shouldn’t sit near this swing because it is moving. If the son’s in the way, he can be hit by the swing.”

The case is just beginning, and the court fight has now started.

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