TOKYO: A car ploughed into a group of kindergarten children in western Japan’s Shiga region on Wednesday leaving at least four of them critically injured, police and reports said.
There was no immediate detail on why the car veered off the road into the group of children in the city of Otsu.
“The accident occurred on a road in Ogaya in Otsu City,” a police spokesman told AFP.
“A car hit a line of about 15 nursery school children out walking. Several people were injured,” he added.
The local city government also confirmed the accident but had no further details.
Public broadcaster NHK reported that four children were in critical condition and that others were hospitalised after the accident.
The children and their teachers were on the pavement near a crossing when the small vehicle crashed into them.
Footage on local media in the aftermath of the accident showed the car had veered up off the road and onto the pavement. A second car that appeared to have been damaged in a crash could be seen still on the road.
There was no immediate detail on who was driving the car, but Japan has seen a rise in fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers.
Drivers over 65 were responsible for 965 deadly accidents in Japan – more than a quarter of the total – in 2016, according to the National Police Agency.
Most accidents caused by elderly drivers resulted from them mixing up the accelerator and the brake or losing control of the steering wheel.
Last month, a woman and her three-year-old daughter were killed when an 87-year-old man rammed into their bicycle.
The driver has said the crash was caused by a fault with the car and police are still investigating.