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88-year-old ex-bureaucrat indicted without arrest over fatal car accident

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Should have been locked up for 20 years

5 ( +14 / -9 )

Iizuka should be behind bars. Clearly the prosecutors are going easy on him. Rest in Peace to the poor mother and her child.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Another very clear example that the laws of Japan are not applied equally to all people. I feel very sorry for Mr. Matsunaga because his wife and daughter will never receive the justice they deserve. It’s hard to understand how people defend a system that is so clearly biased.

22 ( +26 / -4 )

If you're the prosecutor... what do you do? To throw the guy in jail at his age is just about a death sentence in itself. It was obviously an accident and from the start pretty much everybody figured he hit the wrong pedal. What I'd like to see done on the back of this is to have the Government push much harder for Autonomous cars and much better Anti Collision technology along with Speed Control in Urban areas. No one should be able to accelerate to 96kph on a city street other than the Police. The car itself should know its location and the maximum speed limit. That might have helped. Hopefully.... 20 or 30 years from now technology gets to the point where it can be firmly relied to reduce these very sad incidents.

-13 ( +9 / -22 )

Saiko,

Good points but this monster didn't call the emergency services after the crash he called his son to ask for advice to save his own skin.He didn't give two hoots about his victims who were much further down the social ladder than him.

29 ( +30 / -1 )

He'll be found guilty in a token manner, and given a suspended sentence due to his age and kone.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Certainly. there is a problem with Japan's Justice System.  In the meantime, I regret Japanese people never stand up to unfairness - a special treatment for a former high government official.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Another very clear example that the laws of Japan are not applied equally to all people. I feel very sorry for Mr. Matsunaga because his wife and daughter will never receive the justice they deserve. It’s hard to understand how people defend a system that is so clearly biased.

Indeed....every other common Taro & Keiko who have the misfortune to cause accident of similar magnitude get arrested on the spot , regardless of their age. This guy is clearly treated differently because of his connections and past status. Shameful.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Certainly. there is a problem with Japan's Justice System.

well said.

 In the meantime, I regret Japanese people never stand up to unfairness -

That is the crux of the problem right there.

Indeed....every other common Taro & Keiko who have the misfortune to cause accident of similar magnitude get arrested on the spot , regardless of their age. This guy is clearly treated differently because of his connections and past status. Shameful.

Couldn't have said it better myself!

7 ( +11 / -4 )

What a joke. He should have got the death penalty or at the very least solitary confinement for the rest of his pathetic days.

Sickening

3 ( +9 / -6 )

I saw Iizuka on the news last night being brought back to the accident scene. He had two walking sticks and looked like he was being treated with kid gloves and courtesy by the

police officers and investigators around him.

To think he got to go home even on the night his negligence resulted in the deaths of Mrs. Matsunaga and her daughter. RIP and may god give Mr Matsunaga the strength.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

‘Another very clear example that the laws of Japan are not applied equally to all people’

Some people are more equal than others

8 ( +8 / -0 )

What are the statistics? How many drivers over the age of say 85, have caused death related accidents and how many were arrested and thrown in jail? It is because he was a bureaucrat or because of his age? I think it was his age and until proven otherwise I will continue to think that. It is quite easy to accuse based on a supposed link to hierarchy and another to know the numbers. Either way.... this shouldn't be about his penance and treatment... it should be about steps to prevent occurrences in the future. Just another headline to rile us idiots that can't help but comment up.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

In the meantime, I regret Japanese people never stand up to unfairness - a special treatment for a former high government official.

What do you propose the average Japanese citizen should do?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

This is the crisis of democracy in Japan. Wake up! Opposition parties do not take up this issue at the diet. They are not playing their role. They do not represent the voices of citizens.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

This man forced the police, presumably at taxpayer expense, to dismantle and examine the car because he said it had accelerated on its own. As with his calling his son, the man's actions do not show any sign of remorse. I hope that is remembered come sentencing time.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

This type of corruption is so embedded in Japanese society, government and judiciary systems that you should all bow down to the rest of the world in total embarrassment and shame. Disgusting.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Should have been locked up for 20 years

Would have, had it been an ordinary citizen.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

It was obviously an accident and from the start pretty much everybody figured he hit the wrong pedal.

and imagine if it was your family members do you think he shouldn't go to prison because of his age!?

He killed two people a young girl who'll never grow up never have a family of her own , never grow old watching her children and grandchildren grow, doesn't matter that he should have know better to not be driving at his age, doesn't matter that he stole two people from the father, we should feel sympathy for him because of his age! He should spend the rest of his life in prison, its the least he can do for killing two people

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Least he could do is sign his government pension over to the surviving member of the family he all but wiped out. He will never go to jail, that might set a precedent.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Iizuka told investigators shortly after the accident that the brake did not work, but he later said there was a possibility he mistook gas pedal for the brake because he panicked, according to investigative sources.

Shortly/Total BS, he stuck to that story for well over a month, before he was confronted with the mechanical evidence that he couldn't refute.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hardly surprising. Rank has its privileges.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

1 million yen for 2 lives?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

No mercy from me. Hang him high and dry. He should have known his limitations and stopped driving.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The bus driver who committed a similar crime as this one in Hiroshima is already well into his 31/2 year sentence.

Yet Mr.'Elite' hasn't seen the inside of a jail for even a day.

Truly shameful.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

He must have been driving an expensive super car to reach 97km an hour in seconds. But when you are an elite that's normal at 88? The peasants are hungry...let them eat cup noodles attitude.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Suprised he isn't suing the family...well the one remaining member for damage to his car.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@ If you're the prosecutor... what do you do? To throw the guy in jail at his age is just about a death sentence in itself. It was obviously an accident and from the start pretty much everybody figured he hit the wrong pedal. 

Really, but you missed the point where the laws that apply to the common people are not the same for elite and ex-officials. Anyone else as has been reported over and over a mishap as this; the common person would be arrested and in prison by now.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Foul this guy is still getting preferential treatment; Prosecutors chose to charge Iizuka with negligence rather than dangerous driving, resulting in death and injury, which carries a heavier penalty, The police investigation proceeded while Iizuka was allowed to stay at home because he also sustained injuries and was hospitalized after the accident, according to the police. Every common person is immediately indicted and arrested , forget about staying home so need more proof: Where is the proper justice to fit the crime. Do we need to do more public outcry: commoners vs the elite? He blatantly LIED and? Then changed his story; Iizuka told investigators shortly after the accident that the brake did not work, but he later said there was a possibility he mistook gas pedal for the brake because he panicked, according to investigative sources. That too should be added sentence as obstruction of justice by lying to the police. If he changed his story means he was fully coherent of his actions and though not on purpose a life was lost and he was treated differently.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A classic exemplary when you have clout in politics...you can literally get away with murder and a free pass from jail - Insane!

My heart, thoughts and prayers goes out to the family members and friends of Matsunaga-san. May they both RIP in heaven.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Have the police given any reason as to why he wasn't arrested?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japanese justice has a problem.

The problem is it is not fair.

Why can someone who accidentally killed 2 people stay home and relax?

Don't set such a precedent as this.

Iizuka should go to jail at least 12 years.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I'm not so sure.

Its important to note that this just refers to pre-trial arrest, it doesn' t mean that he isn't going to be punished (he might not be of course, but that hasn't been decided yet).

The allegation is that he hasn't been imprisoned pending trial due to favoritism as a result of his connections, but I don't think that is likely since there were a lot of circumstances that favored not detaining him anyway. He is an 88 year old who was injured in the accident, he doesn't pose any risk of fleeing or re-offending.

Also, one of the main purposes of detaining someone pre-trial is usually to extract a confession. But from the prosecutor's perspective that wouldn't really be necessary in a case like this where the evidence speaks for itself.

So my guess is that the prosecutors just didn't think it was worth locking him up.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Sick that is what it is disgustingly sick..because he was a bureaucrat he get a free pass kills a little girl and mother gets to sit out his days in the comfort of his home wtf....this is just backwards.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What good is it going to do if he does jail time? In most countries the family of the deceased victims would take him to court and sue him for every thing he has. Then the old SOB won't have any money to leave to his heirs.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You know, if the words "former senior bureaucrat" were not on the article, people would really be sympathizing with this old sucker. If the article was about them "arresting" and "placing in detention" an 88-year old man, or better yet, a 88-year old foreigner, heads would roll (again) but in the other direction.

Iizuka unintentionally ran over the victims.

Well, that's obvious and correct. Unless you really want to make the push that the guy knew that he would run over the victim and was indifferent to such an outcome.

kohakuebisuToday  09:53 am JST

This man forced the police, presumably at taxpayer expense, to dismantle and examine the car because he said it had accelerated on its own. As with his calling his son, the man's actions do not show any sign of remorse. I hope that is remembered come sentencing time.

Let's see, so for everyone else, especially foreigners, they should be free to plead their own versions and let the prosecutor "work for the kill" while they enjoy instant bail, but when it comes to a "former senior bureaucrat" he should just fold immediately?

How much "former senior bureaucrat" changed the outcome, I won't know. But I can see it changed how fast almost everyone broke their usual "law" on these subjects just for those three words is quite obvious :-)

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It's just not worth locking him up?

I am just talking about pre-trial detention here, not the question of whether or not he should be locked up as punishment for what he did. He killed two innocent people so I think he absolutely should face punishment for that.

But in terms of what the article is actually about, pre-trial detention, if the police/prosecutors don't have a specific reason to keep you in detention before trial its not uncommon for them to release you (in fact they are supposed to do that). Reasons to detain you would include preventing you from fleeing, preventing you from re-offending, preventing you from destroying evidence or (most relevant from their perspective) interrogating you.

This guy just doesn't tick any of those boxes, which is probably why they didn't put him in detention. The implication being made in this case is that they were influenced by this guy's elite connections to let him go. In some cases the prosecutors might be so influenced, but in this one I don't think they were because they would likely have done the same thing regardless.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Honestly what do you expect from a man of 88 years?

This is a tragedy more than anything else. The old man probably doesn’t even know where he is standing.

Banning old people from driving would stop this kind of accidents.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

I agree with you about this. Actually, on a similarly tragic story (link below), one of the commenters who is today demanding the death penalty for the 88 year old doesn't even say anything about what kind of heavy punishment the 72 year old driver who killed his granddaughter should get. He seems content to comment about his driving skills.

https://japantoday.com/category/national/72-year-old-man-backs-car-into-granddaughter-killing-her

And that's where the focus of demand for action really needs to be. No 88 year old should be allowed behind the wheel of a car. Period. Maybe there are some especially youthful 88 year olds around. Too bad. There may also be some especially mature 16 year olds around, but they don't have the right to vote. The line has to be drawn somewhere, right now, and it has to be at an age younger than 88... maybe 80?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@rgcivilian1Today 01:26 pm JST

He blatantly LIED

That's ... harsh. Unless you want to claim he was aiming at the accelerator, he was trying for the brake, thought he had stepped on the brake, and the car did not stop. From his perspective, the brake did not work.

wtfjapanToday 11:03 am JST

he should have know better to not be driving at his age

He was given a permit by the government, which is a recognition that he retains sufficient mental faculties to have the prohibition against driving vehicles removed. As far as the law is concerned, this resolves the question in his favor with the possible exception that after the renewal procedures he is aware he suffered a significant decrease in his cognitive capabilities sufficient to invalidate the conditions under which he was given the permit.

Dr Maybe Today  06:16 pm JST

I'm more on the side of It's a statistic, take it and move on. You can't keep restricting people's rights every time an accident happens. A certain number of people get clipped by cars every year, with the clippers being drivers of all ages. This is accepted as part of the risks in society, and this acceptance shouldn't be changed just on a knee-jerk reflex from an accident.

And anyone can make a mistake, fatal though the consequences might be. If this guy was 40 years old, would you use this as proof that 40 year olds cannot drive cars?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

And anyone can make a mistake, fatal though the consequences might be. If this guy was 40 years old, would you use this as proof that 40 year olds cannot drive cars?

No, but the chances of fatal mistakes in elderly drivers is much higher (you remember the YouTube video of the old woman driving on the footpath/walkway not so long ago?...and many other examples.) It's common sense. Going back to my earlier analogy, you could talk to a 16 year old and find him/her to be knowledgable about relevant issues, and therefore capable of making an informed choice in an election, but you know that 16 year olds generally aren't old enough to be trusted with such a responsibility.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Give him fine blade put him in a room by himself with a photo of the Emperor - let him discipline himself with honor and dignity which modern day Japanese seem to have lost. Let him set an example. Give all his worldly possessions to the victims family and become a monk. Embrace penance like a man, none of this superficial deep bow crap.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

VanityofvanitiesFeb. 7  08:30

”I regret Japanese people never stand up to unfairness - a special treatment for a former high government official.”

Have you forgotten the huge number of people who signed the petition submitted by Mr Matsunaga to the authorities?

tamanegi, “To think he got to go home even on the night his negligence resulted in the deaths of Mrs. Matsunaga and her daughter.”

He did not go home that night. He was injured and in hospital for quite some time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Dr Maybe Feb. 7 07:44 pm JST

Sure, but you shouldn't go on anecdotal, but statistical evidence. Flipping through the net, as a group 80+ year olds don't cause more injuries to others (some do show them dying a lot more as the driver, but people should be allowed to risk themselves and the idea of "paternalism" is ridiculous against a 80+ year fossil) than the youngest age groups allowed to drive cars (the 20-24 groups,and sometimes even the younger groups). As long as similar statistics hold true, there seems no reason to limit them more than the youngsters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about that. You mention statistical evidence about injuries caused by old drivers, but that doesn't take into account near misses (cases of erratic driving that were stopped before injury could occur or, more commonly, avoided by pure luck). I mentioned the video of the woman driving on the sidewalk. No one was hurt. A few years ago, near where I live in Osaka, an old guy was stopped by police after driving nearly the whole distance between 2 stations on the train tracks. Yes, he'd had a few drinks, but still, drinks alone don't explain how anyone could drive that far along train tracks. Yes, I'm mentioning a couple of anecdotal cases, but how many other less spectacular cases of brain-dead driving by old folks go unreported? "MANY"... is a safe answer. For the last time, I appeal to your reserves of common sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now if that were you or me who did something like this.......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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