Families of Japan's stampede victims visit Seoul to console Itaewon crush victims' families
SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) -- Families of the victims of a fatal Japanese stampede in 2001 visited Seoul on Friday to console the families of the victims of last year's Itaewon crowd crush.
Seiji Shimomura and Kiyoshi Miki, two of the family members of the victims of the Akashi stampede, visited Seoul Plaza in central Seoul around 9:10 a.m. to pay their condolences at a memorial altar for the 159 Itaewon crush victims, who were killed during Halloween festivities on Oct. 29 last year.
The Akashi stampede was an accident on July 21, 2001, in the Hyogo Prefecture city of Akashi, where about 1,800 people packed into a pedestrian overpass to watch a fireworks festival, killing 11 people and injuring 247 others.
The Japanese visitors shared their pain with the families of the Itaewon disaster victims, asking the Koreans to brace for a protracted litigation process.
As a Korean family member named Lee Hyo-suk said sorrowfully that she feels the happiness before Oct. 29 will never come again, Shimomura said the pain seems to remain unchanged even after more than 20 years have passed.
Another Korean family member named Song Jin-young said the punishment of those responsible and the identification of the causes of the crowd crush seem to be the most difficult tasks.
Miki responded that it took as many as 15 years to complete the trials in Japan, saying it is impossible to proceed to the stage of preventing the recurrence of similar accidents without identifying the causes of the disaster.
Miki advised the Korean families to continue to make their voices heard in the media and try to receive support from public opinion.
The Japanese nationals then went to the alley next to the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon, where the crowd crush occurred, and attached a message of condolences on a memorial wall there.
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