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Thursday, 19th January 2012
In General Japan News,

Former deputy police chief goes on trial for crush tragedy

The former Akashi deputy police chief Kazuaki Sakaki has gone on trial at Kobe District Court over the deaths of 11 people who were crushed to death following a fireworks display in 2001.

Mr Sakaki was deputy police chief of the Akashi police force in the Hyogo prefecture on July 21st 2001 when large crowds heading to a train station following the festivities tried to pass through an enclosed overpass.

Eleven people were left dead and 247 more people suffered injuries in the incident, the Japan Times reported.

Facing charges of professional negligence over his role in the tragedy, the 64-year-old has pleaded not guilty.

"I did all I could. I was not negligent," he told the court during his initial hearing today (January 19th).

The former policeman was indicted to face trial in April 2010 following two successive decisions made by an independent citizens' panel that he should face charged of negligence.

Akashi is a coastal city that sits west of Kobe, overlooking the Seto Inland Sea.

Written by Susan Ballion