On the Japanese Island of Okinawa, an usual activity called street sleeping has caused the death of some people. This activity involves a random person who sleeps on the road where cars pass by.
Early at 3 a.m., an elderly man was run over by a student who was driving by. He was on the street and was struck by the car. It happened in Tamagi Funakoshi, Nanjo City, Okinawa.
According to the police, the man had no work and was drunk when he slept in the streets. Recently, Okinawa has been fighting alcohol-fueled somnolence for a long time which lead to sleep sleeping epidemic, reported The Mirror.
When the police interrogated the 21-year old student who ran over the old man, the student said that he saw the old man and tried to evade him, but he suddenly felt that he was running on something.
He stopped to check what happened and he saw that the old man was in the center of the road. Thining that the elderly man might still be alive, he was brought to the hospital but died there.
Some questions needed answers to clear up what happened and be investigated by the police. An autopsy with the coroner was done. Police were clueless about what was happening in Okinawa.
The Japanese have a term to describe it, it is called Rojo-ne, or the literal English translation of sleeping on the road. Just last year, Okinawan police officers had about 7000 cases of Rojo-ne, cited The Guardian.
The phenomenon is believed to be caused by Okinawa's warm tropical climate and the popularity of alcohol on the island, the Japanese newspaper Mainichi reports. What causes the powerful drunken stupor is an Okinawan drink called Awamori, which makes drinkers so drunk.
On some occasion, those who get drunk due to too much strong liquor go out in the streets and strip naked. They were so inebriated that they assume to be at home. In fact, even the local police chief Tadataka Miyazawa remarked that he did not know the term existed until he learned about it in Okinawa, adding it is uniquely Okinawan.
When sleeping on the streets of Okinawa, the road sleepers would use the curb as pillows. One idea is that they got a cooling effect in the heat. In 2019, authorities say that three men have been killed because of this action.
One report dated in 2018, tells of a 63-year-old man who slept on the road too. He got run over in Uruma city, said the Okinawan Times.
Another deadly incident happened in 2017, wherein a taxi driver ran over a teacher aged 37 in Yonabaru town whom he did not see on the road ahead. The teacher was street sleeping and that killed some residents of the Japanese island.
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