crime

Enka singer Shoji Koganezawa not indicted for drunk driving

65 Comments

Prosecutors in Tokyo have decided not to indict veteran enka singer Shoji Koganezawa, 62, for drunk driving.

Koganezawa was arrested after the car he was driving rear-ended a truck that was stopped at a traffic light in Suginami Ward just after midday on Nov 28, Fuji TV reported. Nobody was injured in the accident.

Police arrested the singer after a breathalyzer test revealed his alcohol content was over the legal limit. Koganezawa admitted to police he had been drinking that morning. 

Koganezawa was released on bail on Nov 30. Prosecutors announced on Monday that they wouldn’t indict the singer, but did not give a reason why not.

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Go figure!

Then people gets angry when the UN call the Japanese Justice arbitrary.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

What is he? An LDP supporter?

20 ( +22 / -2 )

How fat was the envelope?

19 ( +20 / -1 )

So he was drunk driving had an accident, yet immune from prosecution? It surely is a most weird justice system, steal coins and its jail.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

There is so much corruption in this country it's laughable.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

You're just looking for excuses to hide the fact that Japan Injustice System is a joke.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Japan says its trying to cut down accidents caused by drunk drivers, the elderly, and people using their phones. Yet they decided to let off an elderly drunk driver that caused an accident?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

@kokontozai

It clearly states in the article that he was over the legal limit which under Japanese law is a crime and not just a fine or points lost.

Injuries or not drink driving is by all standards in Japan a criminal offense.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

No, for example, if you are unable to even stand, then the prosecutors won't have much trouble proving your cognizance.

That's good! No matter how drunk I am, I'm sure I can make a straight face and abuse the system. Thanks!

What other crimes can I get away with the incognizant trick?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

How interesting and timely considering a previous discussion.

I wonder what the chances are if it was someone that looked like me or Ghosn would have been this lucky?

I suspect we would have a better chance at winning the lottery than not being charged and found guilty.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I think non-indictment is possible

You can think whatever you wanna think.

The public wants to know what the prosecution thought to get to that decision.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

He’s male, Japanese rich and famous. Nothing more to add.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

One set of rules for the rich and famous, another for the plebes. Thus has it ever been.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

For those trying to defend the prosecutor, here if how it usually goes for the rest of us mere mortals.

2 acquaintances of mine, one Japanese one not, both had alcohol much earlier, both stopped at those year end police spot checks, both tiny amounts of alcohol but far far below the legal limit, both received the equivalent of reckless driving tickets anyway under the police discretion policy, both decided to get a lawyer and contest the ticket.

There things went in very different directions. The Japanese filled notice to contest and the prosecutor decided to go toward in court and in court tried arguing that even the tiny amount of alcohol was enough to be dangerous. The result was not an acquittal but a reduced fine and lesser charge imposed by the judge.

The non Japanese was advised by his lawyer to paid the fine before the time limit because if he goes to court and losses which he will because it is a police's word vs a non Japanese, and he will be found guilty of a criminal offense and not having PR that would mean he would loose his visa and be removed from the country, so he paid the fine,lost point and his gold license.

Neither won in the end despite neither being anywhere near the limit.

So not to charge someone over the limit who was also involved in an accident seems very suspicious and smells like someone pulled a few strings.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

The very definition of an arbitrary interpretation of ad hoc law.

The Prosecutors, are in effect a self-appointed judiciary, able to decide a person innocence or guilt without recourse to criminal statute.

All in total contempt of Japan's Code of Criminal Procedure.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Further evidence that the Japanese “justice” system is an utter farce.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

kokontozai

According to Maeda, he wasn't even fined (罰金もありません。). Maeda also suggests that the police took into account the fact that he "had a nap before getting behind the wheel" (運転前に仮眠をとった).

Just remember, kiddies, never drink and drive without having a nap first /s

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Hmm.

That can work both ways.

At any rate, you could argue that his taking a nap was evidence that he knew he was drunk at one point. Then there's the fact that he rear-ended a truck that had stopped at a light. Due care and attention?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Disgusting.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

身体にアルコールが残っていることを認識した上で車を運転した場合でなければ処罰できません。

oh, wait! Just double-checking to be sure.

*I can get away any DUI just saying I was incognizant?!*

9 ( +9 / -0 )

People lose faith in the prosecutors with such a lack of transparency. Recall last year the prosecutors initially failed to indict an old ex-official for driving into a young mother and her baby and killing them. I hope the reason for not pursuing this case is clarified.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

He probably was able to pay a lot to the other person.

He was allowed to do a lot of bowing instead of being hustled through the court system.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

prosecutors here are a world unto themselves, judge, YEP, jury YEP, executioner YEP

Oh almost forgot, get outta jail free card provider............................YEP!!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Most likely the prosecutor likes enka. That is the simplest explanation.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki,

"No, for example, if you are unable to even stand, then the prosecutors won't have much trouble proving your cognizance. That's not the case this round - as measured he's just slightly over the limit, and he had taken a nap which means he did give his body a chance to work the toxins out."

He took a nap...who cares. It doesn't matter that he took a nap, he was still over the legal limit. Proven by the police with the breathalyzer. He stated he drank in the morning and was involved in the accident after midday.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Yeah, why would they? He only broke several laws and caused an accident. Just like the child molester this week who got a suspended sentence after being found guilty. Good old Japan!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Enka singer Shoji Koganezawa not indicted for drunk driving

Err, what? Drunk driving of a car is not a minor thing, it is serious. I know with certainty that they would not let me get away with it, so why this guy? What happened to the concept of equality under the law?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

I find it interesting how you are so willing to defend the prosecutos.

Any personal reasons?

The list of countries with 99% conviction rates like Japan are countries few really want to visit or live and are not on the list of countries that respect human rights.

This case is a clear example of how the system here is unequal with people in power or with connections get away with what no regular person would get.

As for why my acquaintance failed, you omitted the part where he was not over the legal limit or even near it.

So your point is a drink driver over the legal limit causes an accident but is apologetic gets off.

But the person that broke no laws get punished because he was not willing to bend over and apologize for doing nothing wrong but just because the powers that run things expect it and it seems you agree with that.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

a) "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bump him."

b) "It's just a little bump. Why are you butting in?"

That's the influence of the mens rea concerning the criminality of an act.

This example makes no sense and is nowhere near equivalent.

Bumping into a police or anyone is not a criminal offense.

Drunk driving is a criminal offense.

I wonder if you understand the difference.

I can give you a little help.

Having a car accident due to a unavoidable circumstance or deliberately speeding up and running over someone are very different one may cost or require insurance to pay for repairs the other is murder a crime, see the difference?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Kazu

Usually driving offences are considered strict liability. That means whether or not you intended to, for example, break the speed limit, or didn’t know what it was, or your speedometer was broken etc does not matter one jot. The police only have to demonstrate that you did it, and that they followed the correct procedures regarding the testing equipment and process.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If there are any extenuating circumstances, that warrants Enka singer Shoji Koganezawa be handed down a lenient sentence, is a matter for jurisprudence, presented as such and judgement thereof from there honored Justices.

Not arbitrary justice meted out by jumped up Prosecutors. What next justice is served by Prosecutor kangaroo courts.?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Judges love those fat envelopes...in every country.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Rich and well-connected? Well, I never!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

How ironic. His defence argument was probably, "I was drunk and did'nt know what I was doing".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The fact they allow for longer interrogation periods (compared to the US or UK) and without the lawyer means they can expect to get more accurate information on the mental aspect from the defendant. 

So violation of human rights until a confession is the way to go.

Strange how civilised countries like Germany, France, etc.. can only hold without charging for 24 hours not 23 days and that can be extended another 24 hours not 47 days.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japanese limit is 0%. Test all old men at 7am and 50% will fail.

how drunk was he?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

 There's no question of the prosecution being allowed to avoid proving a mental state.

Well, that would explain the penchant the police have with extracting confessions from defendants.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The drunk driver had a detectable amount of alcohol in his body (objective part), but he drove because he *believed he had gotten it out of his system (thus breaking cognizance*). 

You see, the problem I have with this argument is that it it terribly unsophisticated. Let's say I down a bottle of shochu, then two hours later I get in my car and crash into the stop sign at the end of the road. Using your argument, all I have to do is say to the coppers "Oh, I drank the shochu X hours ago. I didn't realise that there would be alcohol remaining in my body.", and I am off scot-free.

There must be an objective standard - such as a reasonable belief in sobriety - that the defendant must prove, surely?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

without the lawyer means they can expect to get more accurate information on the mental aspect from the defendant. 

So Japanese police have degrees in mental health?

US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, well basically all other civilised countries use mental health professionals to do that.

Nice to know that the Japanese police are so well educated in mental health evaluation. Not!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Readers, you are veering off topic. Posts that do not refer to the story will be removed.

Japan is slowlimg being turned into a third world country by it's own legal system.

I have never seen such a decline of a nation that was once so great.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Kazuaki

In this case it may be true what ur saying. But other people wouldnt get away with it. Or would they? I heard theres supposedly a hard line on alcohol and accidents

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just imagine that Japan were transparent and fair in the Justice...

The prosecutor would to the explanations and on the next DUI we would re-use the same thinking.

Everybody would be treated equally.

It would be a fair system.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

because he ***believed* he had gotten it out of his system* (thus breaking cognizance*).

I can kill 1000 people with no consequences.

Only say that I **believed it was a toy gun.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The fact they allow for longer interrogation periods (compared to the US or UK) and without the lawyer means they can expect to get more accurate information on the mental aspect from the defendant.

Are you sure...? I am sure that with suitable restraints, a towel, several litres of water, and an afternoon of "interrogation" I could have you confessing to the assassination of Ryoma Sakamoto in absolutely no time at all. Of course, your confession would be worthless and the "mental aspect" would hardly be reliable, either.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In the case of your scenario, you probably exaggerated the value of X. They'll say something like "Really, you claim you had 12 hours between bottle and wheel, but your BAC makes it look more like you had two hours, three at the outside. Would you like to try telling the truth?"

In this situation, I AM telling the truth! I genuinely believe (albeit incorrectly) that the alcohol has been metabolized from my body. Therefore, I can surely NOT have the guilty mind which the justice system demands for conviction; which is surely Koganezawa's defence.

For the record, in the U.K. you can be convicted of drink-driving simply my being in possession of your car keys (and with alcohol in your blood). The police use those as evidence of your guilty mind.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Although the exact reasons for dropping the case were not given by the prosecution, the Mr Maeda the lawyer addresses most of the accusations that are being thrown around here.

酒気帯び運転罪は故意犯であり、身体にアルコールが残っていることを認識した上で車を運転した場合でなければ処罰できません。飲酒検知で基準値を超えていても、裁判で無罪になることも現にあります。

You can't just say "Oh, I thought there was no alcohol left in my system". The following factors will have been considered: 1,2,3,4,5,.. etc.

もっとも、運転手が「アルコールは残っていないと思っていた」と主張しているだけではダメで、(1)飲酒量、(2)検知されたアルコール濃度の高さ、(3)飲酒から運転までの間隔、(4)飲酒後の休憩などの状況、(5)飲酒検知時やその前後における運転手の言動・様子、(6)どのような運転だったかなどの事情を総合的に考慮して判断されます。

逮捕時の報道は「基準をわずかに超えるアルコールが検出された」というもので、本人の反省文にも「運転前に仮眠をとった」と記載されていたので、(1)~(6)を捜査、検討した結果、検察は「嫌疑不十分」で不起訴にしたのではないでしょうか。略式起訴すらしないという判断なので、罰金もありません。

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, why doesn’t the media up there chase it up with the prosecutors office? Or is ‘investigative journalism’ not prevalent?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In the next life lets all be reborn as elite bureuacrats or enka singers.....free pass..life,s a peach.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For the record, in the U.K. you can be convicted of drink-driving simply my being in possession of your car keys (and with alcohol in your blood). 

This is very similar to Canada, the USA, France, Germany,etc..

In some cases even sleeping in the car and having alcohol in your blood is illegal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mr Maeda

Who is that?!

The prosecutor must make the reasoning public an settle precedent. That's his duty as a public servant.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Police arrested the singer after a breathalyzer test revealed his alcohol content was over the legal limit. Koganezawa admitted to police he had been drinking that morning. 

Koganezawa was released on bail on Nov 30. Prosecutors announced on Monday that they wouldn’t indict the singer, but did not give a reason why not.

If this account in accurate, then Enka singer Shoji Koganezawa is subject to jurisprudence, no if, no buts, no maybe, no this, no that, Shoji Koganezawa must present his case in front of the judiciary.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You already know why, because he is famous.

Once had an argument with ex about such instances in Japan...famous people get away with something like this, that would get you and I thrown in the slammer for.

”This is Japan “...get used to it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

the police didn't want to enkanvenience him? (#^.^#)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kohakuebisu Dec. 30, 2020 | 08:40 am JST

How fat was the envelope?

Fat enough to prevent you from sitting if you had it in your pants pocket! This is so disgusting now! Japan and its 2 sided justice system. The rich and famous get away with so much rubbish because they're "rich and famous".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a Japan Today piece.

There are two stories, both clearly in the public interest.

The evidence, the arrest for allegedly failing a breathalyzer test, after Shoji Koganezawa, 62, rear-ended a truck that was stopped at a traffic light.

Secondly,

Koganezawa was released on bail on Nov 30. Prosecutors announced on Monday that they wouldn’t indict the singer, but did not give a reason why not.

The follow up?!

Kick the chairs, pitch a tent outside Shoji Koganezawa residence.

Legal council could provide analysis as to why Prosecutors did not state the reasons Shoji Koganezawa failed to be indicted.

A scoop in the making.

Spotlight?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@AntiquesavingDec. 30 10:10 pm JST

Any personal reasons?

Other than getting weary that people who don't demonstrate knowledge of even the ABCs of Criminal Law prejudicially make presumptions of bias? Not really.

As for why my acquaintance failed, you omitted the part where he was not over the legal limit or even near it.

If he was over the statutory limit for the relevant articles, he would already have been accused of driving under influence or even drunk driving, would he? The police and prosecutor's side is that he still had a detectable amount of alcohol in his body (objective part), he knew it (cognizance), and he chose to drive (volition).

Your friend's choice to resist, and on his chosen grounds must have made the case very easy for the prosecutor.

So your point is a drink driver over the legal limit causes an accident but is apologetic gets off.

The drunk driver had a detectable amount of alcohol in his body (objective part), but he drove because he **believed he had gotten it out of his system* (thus breaking cognizance*). 

It's not like he is contemptuous of the dangers of driving with alcohol (=lack of volition) - he would not have driven IF he knew he still had alcohol in his system.

It's not the apology, except as far as it promotes the theory that there is a lack of intent.

Bumping into a police or anyone is not a criminal offense.

You might want to correct that thought, right here, right now, for your personal liberty. Intentional unpleasant contact (including bumps) are sufficient to satisfy both the subjective and objective elements of the crime of Assault. It is the lack of intent that saves us from being criminals for all the bumpings we have in life, not the purported tininess of the bump.

Learn the behavior of denying intent. It'll help,

Having a car accident due to a unavoidable circumstance or deliberately speeding up and running over someone are very different one may cost or require insurance to pay for repairs the other is murder a crime, see the difference?

Exactly. It has a different mental state, does it?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Bungle Today 01:58 pm JST

Well, that would explain the penchant the police have with extracting confessions from defendants.

Actually, it does, I agree. The fact they allow for longer interrogation periods (compared to the US or UK) and without the lawyer means they can expect to get more accurate information on the mental aspect from the defendant. If some lawyer coaches the defendant at every step and/or they only have to hold out for a few hours before they get bailed, obviously getting useful answers would be nearly impossible. The upshot is acceptance of a) plea-bargaining (threats of multiyear imprisonment), b) circumstantial evidence being used as "proof" of your mental state and c) the effective abandonment of mens rea requirements with strict or even "absolute" liability.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Antiquesaving Today 03:03 pm JST

The Japanese filled notice to contest and the prosecutor decided to go toward in court and in court tried arguing that even the tiny amount of alcohol was enough to be dangerous.

This tells me a lot about your Japanese acquaintance and why he failed. We can infer that the defense position was the inverse - the "tiny" amount of alcohol was not dangerous. However that means the defendant didn't even try (or was made aware of the infeasibility of such a position by the prosecutor) to say he didn't intend to drive with alcohol still in his body. That is the key difference.

Suppose you bumped into someone and the police caught you doing it. Which do you think goes down better?

a) "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bump him."

b) "It's just a little bump. Why are you butting in?"

That's the influence of the mens rea concerning the criminality of an act.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@BungleDec. 30 10:14 pm JST

Usually driving offences are considered strict liability.

Just because common law countries allow objective imputation doesn't mean civil law countries do. In civil law countries, be it Japan, Germany, Russia or China (to take 4), you need some kind of mental state, and by default it is intention, though conditional intent is allowed. Even an explicit statement only expands the liability to include negligent mental states. There's no question of the prosecution being allowed to avoid proving a mental state.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Bungle Today 02:09 pm JST

Using your argument, all I have to do is say to the coppers "Oh, I drank the shochu X hours ago. I didn't realise that there would be alcohol remaining in my body.", and I am off scot-free.

In the case of your scenario, you probably exaggerated the value of X. They'll say something like "Really, you claim you had 12 hours between bottle and wheel, but your BAC makes it look more like you had two hours, three at the outside. Would you like to try telling the truth?"

It is not an offense for a defendant to lie in Japan, even in the court. However, it doesn't mean they have to believe you. And the fact you lied can itself be used against you: "As you can see, Judge, the defendant lied, and by a lot. We can infer that this is because he knew (that cognizance thing again) he was over the limit."

If you answered "Oh, I drank the shochu 2 hours ago" they will say

"Well, that's about what the breathalyzer says. I don't think we'll have much trouble convincing the judge that you know, could know and should know that the human body cannot detox a whole bottle of shochu in just 2 hours. Why don't you just tell the truth to the prosecutor - he might even consider a suspended prosecution."

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Antiquesaving and bokuda

I am very sorry to bother you, however, my comment is mainly based on the opinion of Japanese lawyer (Mr. Tsunehiko Maeda). If you can read Japanese, you will find his comment in the attached article.

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/pickup/6380710

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@AscissorToday 11:26 am JST

Of course he wasn't, because there was no provable crime. The key words in his post were:

身体にアルコールが残っていることを認識した上で車を運転した場合でなければ処罰できません。

He cannot be punished unless he is cognizant there is alcohol still left in his body and drove anyway. Of course, the prosecutors will have to prove the above.

It is not a secret that standards for alcohol have been tightening up over the years, so a level of alcohol that does not make you manifestly drunk is now over the limit. You can reasonably be incognizant you are still over the limit.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I think non-indictment is possible, if this case is related with his first arrest, only property damage and the certain tolerable conditions. The certain tolerable conditions means low drinking amount, alcohol concentration and more. However, penalty point in driving license is apart from non-indictment. Anyway, I would like the prosecutors to reveal the reason of non-indictment not only for this case.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

@bokudaToday 11:59 am JST

No, for example, if you are unable to even stand, then the prosecutors won't have much trouble proving your cognizance. That's not the case this round - as measured he's just slightly over the limit, and he had taken a nap which means he did give his body a chance to work the toxins out.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

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