Gashapon or Capsule Toy Law Suit – Kid Swallows Capsule Sues Bandai

May 24, 2008

So a kid got a capsule toy out of the vending machine here. The capsules toys are called “gashapon” in Japanese… you can find them everywhere. Some of them have interesting toys or balls, most of them are very disappointing.

The kid, 2 years and 10 months old) got a ball out of a machine with Bandai brand toys. The kid put a 40mm diameter capsule in his mouth. That would be about 1.57 inches in diameter.

Somehow, he swallowed it.

Mom sued. Even though the law says the capsule must be larger than 31.8mm in diameter, and Bandai’s capsule was much larger than the minimum required by law…

Mom won.

The kid suffered some brain damage from having the oxygen to his brain blocked during the time the capsule was lodged in his throat preventing him from breathing. The court said that its not uncommon for a child under three to open his mouth over 4 centimeters, therefore Bandai did not take proper precautions to ensure the safety of young children.

According to the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan this is the only recorded case of the capsules causing a problem since 1998 during which time over 14,000,000 have been produced.

In Japan, the U.S. is always shown as overly litigious but the same kinds of things happen in Japan. This case is a big exception in that it went so far along in the courts. (And they still got it wrong!)

Another big problem is the mother in this case not noticing or not saving her kid for long enough for brain damage to result. What happened during the 30 minutes it took to get the kid breathing again?