Stricter rules on gas planned for ‘onsen’ after man falls into coma
The Environment Ministry plans to strengthen rules for “onsen” hot spring operators in light of a male bather who remains in a coma since falling unconscious from possible gas poisoning in 2014.
Police have also been looking into the case. They suspect the Onneto Onsen Keifuku inn in the town of Ashoro, Hokkaido, failed to take proper safety measures to control hydrogen sulfide gas levels in the bathing area where the man fell sick.
The Environment Ministry set up an expert council in September to prevent a recurrence. It plans to compile new standards within this fiscal year for onsen operators to measure concentration levels of hydrogen sulfide gas, and use equipment, such as ventilation units.
The ministry said there had been no reports since the 1960s of people dying or falling seriously ill from gas poisoning in bathing areas at onsen facilities for the general public.
An employee of Keifuku inn found the 52-year-old man from Tokyo floating unconscious in the bathing area on the night of Oct. 8, 2014, according to the local fire department and other sources.
After he was taken to a hospital, medical staff said they suspected he was suffering from hydrogen sulfide gas poisoning.
確認のために“coma”をLDOCEで引いたところ、“someone who is in a coma has been unconscious for a long time, usually because of a serious illness or injury”と定義されていました。