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Architect Gets Prison in Deadly Collapse

Thursday, March 3, 2016

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A Japanese architect will spend eight months in prison in connection with a fatal grocery store parking garage collapse in 2011.

The Tokyo District Court’s Tachikawa branch recently found Naoki Takagi, 69, guilty of professional negligence in the case, according to reports, citing the ruling.

behind bars
©iStock.com / helenecanada

The architect was sentenced to eight months in prison as well as a two-year ban on practicing his profession.

In addition to the prison term, a two-year ban on practicing architecture was also imposed.

Takagi said he plans to appeal the ruling, according to the Japan Times.

The case stems from the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck March 11, 2011. The natural disaster caused one of the parking ramps at a Costco store in Machida to collapse, killing two and injuring six others, according to reports.

Prosecutors said Takagi, who designed the structure in the early 2000s, failed to properly ensure that the ramp was constructed in accordance with his plans, reports said.

Not Built to Plan

Takagi’s original plan included a connection between the slope and the building that was “capable of withstanding the impact of a high-intensity earthquake,” according a report by the EFE news agency. However, the plans were reportedly subsequently changed to remove the connecting portion.

The court said Takagi failed to call attention to the change, Japan Times reported.

As a result, the ramp sans connection couldn’t withstand the 9.0 magnitude tremor.

“I could not have foreseen that my design was not carried out the way I had planned it,” Takagi told media outlets after the ruling.

Others, including the director in charge of construction, are also at fault, Japan Times reported, citing the ruling.

The powerful earthquake and tsunami were responsible for 18,500 deaths and disappearances in Japan, reports note.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Construction; Criminal acts; Design; Ethics; Fatalities; Laws and litigation; Parking Garages

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