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Driver gets 30 months over traffic death while playing Pokemon Go

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What? 30 month? is that a joke?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

30 months is a joke, I wonder if the sentence would have been longer had the victim been Japanese?

Disillusioned san; you are so right, absolutely spot on.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Vehicular manslaughter carries a sentence of 7-10 years where I come from.

There is an epidemic of careless, inattentive and multitasking drivers in Japan. The fact he was playing that stupid game should not even be mentioned. I drive every day and am sick to death of the idiots on the roads. More than half of the drivers have their phones in their hands and/or talking on the phone while driving. Then, you can add the other idiots with newspapers draped over the steering wheel, men shaving, women putting on make up, watching TV, nursing their dog on their lap, digging through bags or paperwork, kids jumping around in the car, the list goes on and on! Here are a couple of favorites from recent weeks. One truck driver with an iPad actually mounted on the steering wheel playing a game as he was driving along a major route. I don't know what game it was, but I could see his thumbs frantically dancing across the screen. Now, the game changer, the other day I saw a guy in his late 20s swerving all over the road in his 600CC rice-burner on a busy duel lane main route. I was curious as to what he was doing because I could see him looking down. I got up next to him and he was holding his 2-3 month old baby in one hand and talking to the baby as he was driving. I stopped next to him at the next signal and watched him light up a cigarette with the baby in his arms. I screamed at him that he was a flipping idiot (in my finest 'colorful' Japanese). He just looked at me as if to say, "What am I doing wrong?" - Ignorance can be cured, but stupidity cannot!

Gambling is illegal in Japan, until you get on the roads. Then, you gamble with your life! Meanwhile, the cops are busy checking bicycle registrations, hiding in back streets to catch people for minor offenses or patrolling open roads with no speed limit signs in order to build up their revenue for the month. TIJ folks! TIJ! Keep your eyes open for idiots on the roads. Stay safe!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Unfortunately it doesn't look like Japan is very concerned about it when this murderer only gets 30 months jail for killing someone while doing it.

He's not a murderer. Somebody died through his careless actions but that doesn't make him a murderer.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Striker10: Agreed! It's clear the cause was simply the guy not paying attention, but the game was so utterly successful at the time that people wanted to nail it with something instead of pointing to the real cause. It's the same as people who blame smart phones for all of societies problems instead of blaming the problems and the people.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

He should spend two weeks in real pain before being locked up.

That's a bit Old Testament style vengeance and retribution.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

...although he was not touching the smartphone screen at the time of accident, "his attention was evidently directed to a smartphone rather than driving."

30 months!!!! Is that IT! simply not good enough! Regardless of whether he was touching the screen or not, no-one should be paying more attention to a phone rather than driving, let alone a video game!

In less than 3 years, he'll be out of prison and more than likely back on the roads, where as that woman's family will have to live with out their daughter for the rest of their lives! Poor show!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Apparently life is cheap in Japan. Have seen longer sentences handed out for minor things like smoking a joint.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

30 months is rather short, but rather than spending umpteen years in jail a lifetime ban from driving would be a good additional sentence for this guy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And JUST after the thread on which I said the courts and society don't value human life. 30 months for negligence resulting in DEATH! Unbelievable! Another bell-jar verdict. TIJ.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Who cares what he was doing on his phone (I'm getting tired of these "pokemon go" headlines), the fact that he was distracted using his phone while driving and killed someone is the real issue here. This is a major issue in Japan and in many countries. Unfortunately it doesn't look like Japan is very concerned about it when this murderer only gets 30 months jail for killing someone while doing it. What a disgrace.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki:

Prison sentences prevent offenders from inflicting more harm, but they also serve as a deterrent to others. A problem here is that such a paltry sentence is going to do very little (if anything) to discourage others from similar behaviour.

Personally I feel that there are better ways to reduce recidivism rates than years locked away, but occasionally, and most definitely in this case, the book needs to be thrown.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Kazuaki - you know what would save everyone a whole lot of money? having no government at all, no more money spent on enforcing those laws, and no more taxes! WOW!

I can't quite believe you compared how economically productive one would be and the length of their sentence.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki: "It is practically a sport here for JapanToday readers to read the latest judgment issued by the Japanese court and groan at how short it is. What's the point of commentating if everyone is going to proffer exactly the same viewpoint?"

If everyone has the same or similar views, what's the problem with adding support? Would you dismiss scientists weighing in on global warming or what have you because they have further proof? or would you say, "Look, one guy said it's happening, that's it for that argument. We can only now allow people who are speaking against it"? We all know that if it's an issue of Japanese wrong doing, or UN cultural heritage bids by China or Korea, Japan insists that only it's "alternative history" be allowed, but it is equally ridiculous to say people shouldn't continue to comment simply because they all agree the penalty is not stiff enough, but YOU should be allowed, and others like you, to come on and disagree.

And if you think we're making it a "sport" to come on here and bemoan the poor judgement of the courts, why not do your part, as someone who can vote, and make a difference so we don't have to? And, no, that does not mean supporting a "Secrets Law" that won't allow opinions the government or supporters don't like, it means changing the system so that the punishment reflects the severity of the crime. A person KILLED someone else through reckless driving, and you are complaining about people thinking his sentence is not harsh enough -- you don't ONCE say anything about the guy, except to suggest the punishment is adequate! You're more concerned with image and praise than about the life that was lost, and the man who took it. That says a lot about you, Kazuaki.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki - Do you live in that country with the highest incarceration rate of all the OECD nations?

Well, there's a typical Japanese question assuming every foreigner is American. I'm sure your defense of this idiot and the many more like him would change dramatically if one of these inattentive and irresponsible idiots killed one of your family members. Driving a car is a privilege, not a right and comes with great responsibility, which should also come with severe consequences for abusing that privilege.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The short sentence has to do with the fact that this tragedy was unwanted by every concerned parties. The driver, while responsible for his irresponsibility, is not a criminal nor a deviant with ill intent. Taking him away from the society does nothing in terms of security since he was not a threat to begin with, nevertheless what happened happened. Legal entities understand that much, but can not make him walk out either way. It would not send the slightly right kind of message. He will serve his time and, in hands with regret, will return to the society working besides everyone else as someone, hopefully, more responsible this time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Haaa Nemui, whether he stop or not is irrelevant. He killed somebody he should be punished, 30mons is very short. What do you think the victims family feel with 30 months sentence? He should be sentence for at least 10yrs. What rotten system..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kazuaki

I constantly see drivers ignoring stop signs, pushing through red traffic lights, or using their cell phones while driving. I'm not saying this doesn't happen in other countries because I know that it does, but where I come from, any cop seeing a driver do this would immediately stop them, check their registration, generally inconvenience them, definitely warn them, maybe even fine them. Whilst living in Japan, several times I have witnessed a traffic violation occur in the presence of a police officer, and been soundly ignored. So obviously there is no 'broken windows' type policy regarding traffic law.

Now, someone has been killed by a driver playing a game on their phone while driving. If police seldom seem to punish offenders at ground level, and harsh punishment isn't the answer, (and traffic "campaigns" certainly aren't) what do you recommend?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kazuaki

Thanks for the response. 

First, I do feel that long periods of incarceration, and harsh punishments, are not always the best recourse.  I have seen young offenders and petty criminals enter prison one end, and emerge the other as hardened crims.  More restorative forms of justice appeal to me, personally.

Well, last month I was in Japan, and when the car I was sitting in failed to obey some sign because its driver was fighting the balky Toll Autopay card slot, some ambushing cops did come after us. Please note, we were in one of those little side roads, and there was zero traffic.

Oh great, so when there is no danger to anyone the cops will act, but when there is (distracted drivers, red-light runners etc) they won't?  Solid police work there.

Sometimes, squeezing out that pimple is not worth the costs of the drastic countermeasures.

Yeah, equate someone tragically losing their life because of a distracted driver to the cost of squeezing a pimple, whatever that means.  OK. 

Also, policing traffic is comparable to fighting drugs and terror. Gotcha.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Haaa Nemui, whether he stop or not is irrelevant. He killed somebody he should be punished, 30mons is very short. What do you think the victims family feel with 30 months sentence? He should be sentence for at least 10yrs. What rotten system..

If it were irrelevant there wouldn't be such a thing as "hit and run". Yes the victim's family needs to be taken into consideration but so to does the family of the offender and the offender's colleagues and position in society... and speculating about the feelings of family based on what you personally feel doesn't make it fact. Many families have lost loved ones in similar incidents but have gone on to forgive the offender. I'm seeing that most people here wouldn't have that ability.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ok, so what about in my example of shooting a gun blindfolded on a public street, would that person be a murderer? Because the only difference is the probability of killing someone. But the probability of killing someone while driving distracted is not low enough as to be dismissible, therefore in essence it's the same as in shooting a gun blindfolded.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You are avoiding the question. I guess you don't have a good answer. As to murder requiring intent, it depends where you are from. For example, in the USA, "malice aforethought" is required, not "intent". Intent is one example of "malice aforethought", but so is "Depraved heart":

Section 210.2 (1) (b) MPC provides that criminal homicide constitutes murder when "it is committed recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."

(Now I expect a reply of "this is Japan, American law is irrelevant to this case")

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We were talking about whether he should be called a murderer or not. My example was exactly on that topic. Either way, this discussion is getting tedious. In my mind he's a murderer, in the same way the blindfolded shooter in my example would be a murderer because of his extreme recklessness. You are free to think differently.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki: "Let's just say that not every country feels that long sentences do much more than produce some cold satisfaction on the part of the victims and some onlookers, while costing an arm and a leg for the State."

YoU're making excuses for someone who killed someone else for the sake of nationalism. The fact is Disillusioned and EVERYONE else on this post, save you, is spot on. It is not surprising you are Japanese and defending a 30 month sentence for manslaughter when people JUST finished saying life is cheap here.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@smithinjapan May 12 08:30 pm JST

It is practically a sport here for JapanToday readers to read the latest judgment issued by the Japanese court and groan at how short it is. What's the point of commentating if everyone is going to proffer exactly the same viewpoint?

And why link "life is cheap" and a short sentence? That's a retributive mindset which is quite frankly getting old in modern criminology. If anything, when you imprison someone you in essence are agreeing they become a parasite to society, because even if you make them work in prison they are not likely to be all that economically productive - that work is all outside the prison. The effects of massive sentences as a deterrent factor is also quite controversial, while its costs to the State and negative effects in the convicted are much less so.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@Disillusioned Today 09:11 am JST

Well, there's a typical Japanese question assuming every foreigner is American.

OK, did you come from a "common law" country? Because there is some correlation between that and heavier sentences, which of course makes you feel foreign sentences are light.

Driving a car is a privilege, not a right and comes with great responsibility, which should also come with severe consequences for abusing that privilege.

While the driving licence in Japan retains its name of 免許, in modern Japanese legal thinking, under the aegis of respecting natural human rights to the maximum, driving is now regarded as part of the natural rights and in administrative law theory the act of giving a driving licence is now part of the 許可 (Permission) group rather than the 特許 (Special Generation of a Privilege) group.

Under this thinking, you can still stop the unlicenced from driving cars, but this is considered a Justified (for public safety) infringement of natural rights rather than the refusal to grant a discretionary privilege. This creates differences in determining under what circumstances you can take away the licence or refuse to grant one (obviously, it's more restricted if you think of Driving as a Right and not a Privilege).

So, the next time another old geezer causes a traffic accident, and the discussion inevitably turns to why Japan still allows these geezers to drive, you can come back to this little legal factoid.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@RiskyMosaic Today 09:11 am JST

Whilst living in Japan, several times I have witnessed a traffic violation occur in the presence of a police officer, and been soundly ignored. So obviously there is no 'broken windows' type policy regarding traffic law.

Well, last month I was in Japan, and when the car I was sitting in failed to obey some sign because its driver was fighting the balky Toll Autopay card slot, some ambushing cops did come after us. Please note, we were in one of those little side roads, and there was zero traffic.

But to the essence of your question, I'll give you a revolutionary thought: Sometimes, squeezing out that pimple is not worth the costs of the drastic countermeasures.

Think about what drastic measures America has approved in an attempt to squeeze the drug and terrorism "pimples". As a result, Americans have lost a substantial fraction of their rights, and many Americans are in prison. And they didn't even get rid of the pimples.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@smithinjapan Today 09:10 am JST

If everyone has the same or similar views, what's the problem with adding support? Would you dismiss scientists weighing in on global warming or what have you because they have further proof?

My personal policy when joining a thread is to first skim the opinions that have already been stated and think about what new things I can contribute. Otherwise, I content myself with clicking the Like and Dislike buttons. An excess of repetitive opinion only increases the number of posts a newcomer has to wade through, and may even deter newcomers with alternative opinions from joining entirely, because they feel like they are fighting against a mountain.

A person KILLED someone else through reckless driving, and you are complaining about people thinking his sentence is not harsh enough -- you don't ONCE say anything about the guy, except to suggest the punishment is adequate!

Based on where you are using all caps, your morality veers towards what Japanese jurists will call 結果無価値論, that is to say you feel the primary "badness" of crime is the despicability (unworthiness) of the result (in this case, a death). The nature of the act is a secondary or tertiary consideration - after all, a man died no matter what.

While this is a powerful faction in Japan, the ascendant position in Japan is the 行為無価値論 - the despicability is primarily in the act. And from that position, there is a huge difference between an act done intentionally versus an act due to a mere lack of sufficient care. This is reflected in the current judgment.

BTW, as a whole, punishments in the Japanese (and German which formed the theoretical base of Japanese law) system tend to be lighter than American. However, from the legal-theoretical (jurist) perspective, this is probably not because America views individuals more heavily. It is because America views the State more heavily. You see this in answers to the Consent to Injury problem:

When asked the question "Is it criminal for two people to hurt/kill each other if they both willingly and fully consent?", both American and Japanese jurists will answer yes. But their reasoning is different. Japanese jurists tend to reason that the Right of Life and Health is higher than the Right to Freedom. An alternate reasoning is to appeal to the public morality - the people don't think it is OK for two people to agree to hurt or kill each other. You see the stress towards the individual or at least the non-governmental collective.

An American jurist's reasoning will be because the penal code refers to Crimes against the State, and so a mere individual cannot excuse it away by his consent. From this, we can extrapolate that a (large) portion of the punishment in every American criminal offense has nothing to do with the appreciation of individual rights, but because they "Kicked" the State. Ironically, while the American commoner sees "Crimes against the State" as a bad and tragic joke by paranoid totalitarian regimes, it is actually the American legal system that sees everything as a crime against the state, while the totalitarian regimes they diss at least make a distinction!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki - Under this thinking, you can still stop the unlicenced from driving cars, but this is considered a Justified (for public safety) infringement of natural rights rather than the refusal to grant a discretionary privilege. This creates differences in determining under what circumstances you can take away the licence or refuse to grant one (obviously, it's more restricted if you think of Driving as a Right and not a Privilege).

Ok, I'll bite on this round of rhetoric. So, you are saying people have a right to drive a car regardless of skills and permission to do so via a licence? In 'modern' countries, a car is considered a lethal weapon and carries penalties equal to the abuse of such a weapon. However, Japan has very strict gun control laws as well as other concealed weapons. How can you state that being able to drive a lethal weapon is any different to concealing a lethal weapon? In this case, this joker totally abused his privilege of driving by playing that stupid game, which resulted in the death of an innocent person. The fact he received a short jail sentence does nothing to deter other idiots from multitasking while driving. I'll bet you use your phone and watch TV while you are driving, don't you?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Un-freakin-believable. The japanese justice system never ceases to disappoint

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Disillusioned Today 02:26 pm JST

Ok, I'll bite on this round of rhetoric. So, you are saying people have a right to drive a car regardless of skills and permission to do so via a licence?

In essence, that's Japan's position - you are just suffering a justified infringement of your rights while licenceless in the benefit of public safety.

Don't look at me like that. If you don't believe me and live in Japan, you can always go to a bookstore and look up books with "Administrative Law" in their title. Look up the section where they describe all the different administrative acts. Look up the explanation for 許可 and quite likely one of the examples will be about driving licences, including the free encyclopedia article here:

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/行政行為

Japan has very strict gun control laws as well as other concealed weapons. How can you state that being able to drive a lethal weapon is any different to concealing a lethal weapon?

Perhaps because a car's primary purpose is not being a "lethal weapon" but a transport vehicle?

The fact he received a short jail sentence does nothing to deter other idiots from multitasking while driving. I'll bet you use your phone and watch TV while you are driving, don't you?

I don't even drive. But frankly, if 30 months does not deter people, why do you think increasing the penalty will?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

He's not a murderer. Somebody died through his careless actions but that doesn't make him a murderer.

He is not someone who accidentally killed a person through bad luck/unforeseen circumstances/etc. He killed someone through his grossly negligent actions. If I took a loaded gun, spun around and closed my eyes and then started pulling the trigger on a crowded street, I would rightly be considered a murderer if I killed someone. Even if I didn't actually intend to kill that person. What he did is in essence no different. He made the willful decision to act dangerously in a way that could easily result in someone dying, and that's exactly what happened.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Murder requires intent. This guy killed, but not with intent. Therefore it's not murder.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You are avoiding the question. I guess you don't have a good answer.

I'm ignoring something that has absolutely nothing to do with the current topic at hand. Keep on topic, and I'll answer your questions.

As to murder requiring intent, it depends where you are from. For example, in the USA, "malice aforethought" is required, not "intent". Intent is one example of "malice aforethought", but so is "Depraved heart":

I'm going with dictionary definition:

he unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

Or another:

kill (someone) unlawfully and with premeditation.

There was no premeditation. It was not murder.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I feel sorry for his victim, two weeks in hospital before passing away. He should spend two weeks in real pain before being locked up.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Just wondering. Immediately after the accident, did the offender drive off or did he stop to try and offer help? If he drove off then yeah, I think longer should have been given, but if he stopped then I think 30 months is enough. This isn't like the two guys who were street racing in Hokkaido and killed a family of four... dragging one to his death while trying to drive away. It was carelessness caused by a lack of attention. It's probable that most accidents including those causing death are a result of carelessness caused by lack of attention. Locking him up longer doesn't help anyone... him, his family, his victim's family... If anything it'll be detrimental.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What about it. It's irrelevant to this case. And murder requires intent which this guy didn't have.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

We were talking about whether he should be called a murderer or not. My example was exactly on that topic.

You came up with some example that has nothing to do with the current case.

In my mind he's a murderer

Everyone is free to define language however they want. The problem comes when they try to use their made up definitions with the rest of the world that actually has agreed upon meanings for words.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Disillusioned Today  06:15 pm JST

Do you live in that country with the highest incarceration rate of all the OECD nations?

Let's just say that not every country feels that long sentences do much more than produce some cold satisfaction on the part of the victims and some onlookers, while costing an arm and a leg for the State.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

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