Man, 75, Killed As Police Issue Warning Over Street Sleeping On Japanese Island
A man has been killed amid a bizarre phenomenon on a Japanese island which has seen numerous drunk folks sleep in the street.
According to reports, the man had been sleeping in the street when he was hit by a student's car.
The 21-year-old told police: "I found an object lying on the road and tried to avoid it, but I felt like I was riding on something.
"When I stopped the car and confirmed, a man fell down in the centre of the road."
The man was rushed to hospital and later pronounced dead.
Officials are currently investigating why he was in the road, and an autopsy is set to take place.
Police have not confirmed if he was intoxicated at the time, but the city has been battling what it calls 'alcohol-fuelled somnolence' for several years.
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Officers in Okinawa say they dealt with more than 7,200 incidents of rojo-ne - or 'sleeping on the road' - last year. Three of those cases ended in death.
According to Mainichi, the city is thought to be particularly hard-hit due to its warm climate and the popularity of booze on the island, with a strong spirit called awamori blamed, in part, for the levels of drunkenness.
Local police chief Tadataka Miyazawa said: "I didn't even know the term 'rojo-ne' before coming to Okinawa. I think it's a phenomenon unique to Okinawa."
However, when asked why the numbers of rojo-ne were so high in the city, the police commented: "First of all, I think we're the only ones collecting statistics on rojo-ne."
According to the news outlet, some people have even stripped off in their drunken states before lying down on the ground, seemingly mistaking the road for their bedrooms.
Head of traffic police Tatsuo Oshiro told Mainichi: "We will take a strong position against habitual offenders." He warned that people could be whacked with 50,000 yen (£361) fines.
Oshiro added: "Don't get me wrong. Alcohol isn't bad; it's bad to drink excessively. We want the residents of Okinawa to drink appropriately."
Featured Image Credit: Okinawa Prefectural Police's Yaeyama Police Station
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