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2 seriously hurt in taping of TBS athletic TV show.

TOKYO, May 6 Kyodo

Two participants in a Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS) athletic contest TV show were seriously injured Sunday during taping in a Yokohama studio, TBS officials said Monday.

The officials said Wei Tao, a 19-year-old Chinese freshman at Kyoto University, and Takunori Isa, a 20-year-old junior at Tokai University, suffered cervical vertebrae injuries in separate accidents during recording of ''Kinniku Banzuke'' (Muscle Ranking).

Police said they will question TBS officials on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in bodily injury as they may have failed to take appropriate safety precautions.

Kinniku Banzuke showcases events involving professional and amateur athletes as well as TV personalities. It was the first time that participants have sustained serious injuries in the program, according to TBS.

TBS recorded an event called ''Chikarajima'' (Power Island) in which contestants try to clear obstacles in the studio in Yokohama's Aoba Ward, according to the police. Taping started at 7 p.m. Sunday. The accidents occurred in two games, ''Rock Attack'' and ''Rock Valley.''

In Rock Attack, contestants catch a giant ball and try to push it along a 15-degree slope. In Rock Valley, they try to walk on the ball, which weighs about 30 kilograms and has a diameter of 1.8 meters, across a ditch 2.5 meters wide and 1.4 meters deep.

Wei, a resident of Kyoto's Sakyo Ward, fell into the ditch in the latter event. Isa, who lives in Tokyo's Sumida Ward, fell down when he tried to catch the ball, the police said.

TBS officials said 32 people applying for the show appeared on the program. Since Wei climbed out of the ditch by himself, TBS continued recording the show.

Wei later complained of pain and was taken to a hospital. While he was being treated there, the accident involving Isa occurred.

TBS, which has aired Kinniku Banzuke since 1995, apologized for the injuries. It said it has decided not to air the program and will consider taking safety measures.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:May 13, 2002
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