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Elite bureaucrat sentenced to 5 years for car crash that killed two

thomas

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Two years ago, Kozo Iizuka (87), the former head of the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, killed a young mother and her 3-year old daughter and injured nine others, including his wife, when he accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake on a busy crossing in Ikebukuro. Kozo Iizuka pleaded innocent, claiming a mechanical deficiency had caused the accident. Today, the Tokyo District Court sentenced him to five years in jail.

His case caused immense uproar and criticism due to the perceived special treatment he received by the police, the legal system and the media, ostensibly due to his privileged position in society. He has never apologised to Takuya Matsunaga, the bereaved husband and father.

Iizuka, who was also injured in the accident and hospitalized, was indicted without arrest in February last year, triggering a public outcry and claims that he had been given preferential treatment due to his former government position. The accident also stirred a debate about the increasing number of older drivers on Japanese roads and the dangers they pose and prompted many older people in the nation to give up driving.



The case attracted heightened public attention particularly as Takuya Matsunaga, the grieving husband of Mana and father of Riko, held a news conference to express his grief and desire for harsh punishment for the driver. Although only 22 tickets were made available for the public to hear the court ruling, 563 people lined up on Sept. 2, hoping to get a ticket to enter the courtroom.


iizuka.jpg kozo-iizuka-accident.jpg matsunaga-tastuya.jpg
 

Uncle Frank

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At least he will be using the right side of the road , LOL. My first few weeks driving in Japan sure seemed weird.
 

nice gaijin

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The part that guts me is that he hasn't apologized to the victims and their families. I get that his defense was that it was the car's fault and he wants to avoid all responsibility, but who put the car there? Own up to the horrible thing you did, even if you didn't mean to.

I don't understand why the widower would be the target of abuse on the internet, but it is the internet after all...
 
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thomas

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Wikipedia has a very detailed account of the events on the day of the accident and thereafter:



I have always found this case heartbreakingly tragic, but the details and implications are beyond belief:
  • before the accident, the defendant had already had sensory issues with his legs (suspicion of Parkinson's Disease).
  • On the day of the accident, he had been speeding because he and his wife had a reservation at a French restaurant; he’d been weaving through the traffic.
  • He admitted he had gone into the curve at a speed exceeding the 50 km/h speed limit because he was hurrying.
  • Straight after the accident, he did not call the police but his son to tell him that he had hit several people.
  • The accident happened on 19 April, but indictment procedures only started in November 2019 after the husband and father had collected 391,136 signatures in a petition to indict the defendant.
  • Contrary to police practice, the defendant was not arrested and was never called "suspect" (容疑者 yogisha) in police and media reports. Only after the referral of the case to prosecutors on 12 November 2019, some media began referring to the defendant as "suspect".
No wonder this case left a bitter taste with many.
 

Petaris

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Last week's news:
After reading that its just kind of absurd. I agree with @nice gaijin, why in the world are people abusing the widower?

Based on the info @thomas posted from Wikipedia, about the sensory issues, why was this guy even still driving?
 

thomas

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It's been reported that Kozo Iizuka will not appeal the court ruling from 5 September. The deadline to file an appeal is today.

"I want to accept the verdict and take responsibility for my crime," Kozo Iizuka, a former senior official in the industry ministry, told the head of a nonprofit organization that provides support to perpetrators of crime on Sept. 15. According to the NPO leader, Iizuka also apologized to victims of the accident that occurred in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district, including a mother and her daughter who died.

And he will effectively do time.

Iizuka was never detained and allowed to remain at home even after he was indicted. But with the finalizing of his sentence, he will likely serve time. A Criminal Procedure Law provision allows for the suspension of a prison sentence for convicts 70 and older if the punishment could have a negative effect on the individual's health. One source in the judicial system said such decisions are made not based only on age, but the health of the individual is also taken into consideration. The sentence Iizuka was given does not involve hard labor.

 

mdchachi

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Probably will be a suspended sentence with no time is my guess.
 

thomas

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Probably will be a suspended sentence with no time is my guess.

That would have been my guess, too, but with all those allegations of preferential treatment and in light of the public pressure, he'll probably serve a while until he is declared unfit for detention.
 
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