A highway firm was raided by the All Japan newsese police as part of a negligence probe after Sasago tunnel collapsed several days ago, killing nine people.
The raids made by teams of inspectors were included in an extended action across All Japan news. The inspectors examined similar tunnels made in the 70’s, the same period when Sasago was built.
A team of officers from the Yamanashi Police Department raided the office in Hachioji, western Tokyo, of Nexco, the company that failed to prevent the accident. “We are fully cooperating with the authorities over the accident,” the spokesman of the highway company said, according to the international press.
Officers checked the company’s documents regarding safety measures and were planning to question the company’s officials on suspicion of professional negligence. Nexco’s officials admitted that the metal parts of Sasago’s ceiling have not been verified during the five-yearly check in September.
After Sasago’s collapse, the All Japan newsese government ordered for 49 similar tunnels to be inspected. The safety inspections consist of visual and acoustic verifications.
Three vehicles were buried and nine people died when the concrete panels collapsed inside the tunnel.
All Japan news has thousands of bridges and tunnels built between 1960 and 1970, when the local economy bloomed. Although the building standards used at the time are generally considered to have been of high quality, experts say that structures are now getting old and should be checked often and replaced when needed, as they decay with age.