Annual Traffic Safety Day promotes safe driving, U.S.-Japan partnership
MISAWA CITY, Japan -- Dressed in service uniforms, more than 100 U.S. military and Japan Air Self-Defense Force personnel attended the 24th Annual Traffic Safety Day in the Misawa Civic Center, July 22.
The summer event, which began in 1992 and lasts for 10 days each year, stressed the importance of preventing traffic-related accidents and encouraged the promotion of traffic safety awareness. Each year, Misawa Air Base is invited to participate in the event, continuing a long-standing history of partnership and cooperation between the base and city regarding the safety of the community.
“During the summer season, there is an increased probability of accidents since vehicles are used more often for activities and visits,” said Kazumasa Taneichi, the Misawa City mayor. “Our campaign this year focuses on prevention of traffic accidents involving children and the elderly, promotion of safe bicycle riding, and eradication of driving under the influence of alcohol.”
The participants took part in a moment of silence for the victims of traffic accidents before listening to safety messages made by Katsuji Soma, the Misawa Police Station chief, Masanori Kohiruimaki, the Misawa City Assembly speaker, Yoshinori Kohiyama, an Aomori Prefecture assemblyman, and Mayor Taneichi.
“As of the end of June 2016, Misawa has had 103 car accidents, 139 injuries and two fatalities,” said Soma. “In response to these mishaps, [the Misawa police] will strengthen traffic control and continue to apply safety measures.”
In addition to remarks made by prominent local community members, representatives from the Misawa City Office, Misawa Air Base and the Misawa Daiichi Kindergarten made a safety declaration stating their commitment to eradicating reckless driving and driving under the influence, along with an overall commitment to the goals of the campaign.
“It is important to show that we care about traffic safety issues like driving under the influence and excessive speeding,” said Master Sgt. Brian Brantley, the 35th Medical Group radiology chief. “Involvement and engagement from both the U.S. and Japanese sides bring awareness to the entire community.”
By disseminating knowledge and promoting awareness, Misawa City will become a safer and better place to live, Soma stressed.
The ceremony ended with a marching band performance by the kindergarten students to signify their dedication to the campaign and to focus on the prevention of traffic accidents involving children.
“Traffic accidents are tragic events that can take precious lives, injure people and bring sorrow to family members,” said Kohiyama. “A society in which people can live in peace without any accidents is our eternal wish.”