A man died in June 2021 after spending some seven hours in a Tokyo subway station toilet whose two alert alarm systems were not working properly, Tokyo Metro Co. disclosed on March 2, without the installation of a fall down detection sensor.
According to Tokyo Metro, a security guard noticed a multipurpose toilet door lamp was blinking at Hatchobori Station on the Hibiya Line at around 11 p.m. on June 7 last year. The guard and station staff unlocked the door and found a man who later died at the hospital. The door lamp blinks if someone stays in the toilet stall for 30 minutes or longer. Security camera footage showed the man entering the toilet at around 4 p.m. — about seven hours earlier.
The multipurpose bathroom had an alarm system and an emergency button which the user could hit if they fell ill in the toilet, but both alert systems were inactive. Tokyo Metro said that it was unknown whether the lack of a functioning emergency system was a factor in the man’s death.
The alarm system, which is supposed to automatically notify the station office if a user stays in the multipurpose bathroom for 30 minutes or longer, did not work properly due to the cable between the sensor and the station office being disconnected. The emergency button in the stall did not work, either, because its circuit breaker was off. Construction of the bathroom was completed in June 2012, but tests were not conducted on either system to see if they functioned properly, and they were apparently inactive from the outset.
The subway operator explained that though the cause of the man’s death was unknown, police told them no foul play was suspected. It was apparently unknown whether the man pushed the emergency button.
Following the incident, the company inspected some 220 multipurpose toilets, and found similar glitches at 12 locations. They have reportedly been fixed.
(Japanese original by Toshiaki Uchihashi, Tokyo City News Department)