Japan tells Mario Kart runners on the streets of Tokyo how to buckle up, East Asia News & Top Stories

TOKYO (AFP) – People dressed as Super Mario who walk the streets of Tokyo in go-karts will have to buckle up, Japanese authorities said on Thursday (December 7) after a series of accidents.

Tokyo is often surprised to see convoys of karts driven by people, often tourists, disguised as Mario and other popular Nintendo characters who shout through the crowded streets of the most populated city in the world.

Unlike many countries, Japan is not prohibited from driving karts on public roads.

But after three accidents during the past year, the Ministry of Transportation decided to impose the use of seat belts for such vehicles.

Currently, vehicles do not have seat belts and drivers are not required to wear helmets, a ministry official who did not want to be identified told AFP

"It is dangerous since other cars can not see them because of their little height, "he added.

The ministry is looking to implement the regulations in a few years.

According to the proposed new rules, go-karts must be at least one meter off the ground and the steering wheel must be made of soft material to avoid injury to the driver in the event of an accident.

The movement comes after Nintendo, based in Kyoto, filed a lawsuit in February against MariCar, a go-kart rental company in Tokyo, for allowing tourists to wear disguises of unauthorized Nintendo characters.

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