Japanese Prime Minister Visits Crash Site, Mourns 520 Victims
TOKYO (AP) _ Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone on Monday visited the site of a Japan Air Lines plane crash at a remote central Japan mountain and prayed for the 520 victims killed in history’s worst one-plane disaster.
Meanwhile, the mother of one of the victims committed suicide late Monday at her home in western Japan’s Wakayama prefecture, police said.
Nakasone flew to the crash site on a Japan Self-Defense Force helicopter. He placed white chrysanthemums before a memorial monument and offered a brief prayer.
″I came to pray for the repose of the victims’ souls,″ he told reporters. ″We have to do our best not to let such a mishap occur again,″ he said.
The Boeing 747 jumbo jet, while on a one-hour flight from Tokyo to Osaka Aug. 12, crashed into a mountain 70 miles northwest of Tokyo. All but four of the 524 people aboard were killed, including 22 foreigners.
Tomiko Hayashi, 49, was found dead after she hanged herself with an electric cord in the bedroom of her house, police in Kaiso county said.
It was the third suicide possibly related to the JAL crash. In late August, a JAL employee assigned to take care of victims’ families took his life, while a co-worker of a female victim also committed suicide.
On Aug. 12, Mrs. Hayashi’s 19-year-old son, Takuya, who worked at a downtown Tokyo coffee shop, decided to take his first plane ride ever because he could not get tickets for high-speed bullet trains to go home for the summer ″Obon″ holidays.
Police quoted Mrs. Hayashi’s relatives as saying she was depressed over the loss of Takuya, second of her three sons.
″I lost my son in the JAL crash, and now I lost my wife. I really can’t get over this,″ Katsuhiko Hayashi, father of Takuya, was quoted as saying by the Kyodo News Service.