crime

Man gets 7 years for killing two kids with car

28 Comments

A man convicted on charges of negligent driving resulting in the death of two children was sentenced to seven years in prison on Friday. Prosecutors had sought a 15-year prison term for Tomohiro Miyata, 21.

The Tokyo District Court heard that Miyata was driving in the Denenchofu district in Ota Ward on the night of Dec 26, 2010, when his car mounted the sidewalk, killing Mitsuyori Mizushima, 9, from Tochigi Prefecture, and his 6-year-old cousin. The children's grandparents were also injured in the accident.

Three male passengers aged 19 and 20 were in the car with Miyata. The four men were on their way to Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, from Tokyo. The car plowed into the pedestrians on the sidewalk of a four-lane straight road after running through a red light at a busy intersection. It then rammed into a power pole and the hedge of a condominium.

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28 Comments
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Any idea what he was doing at the time instead of watching the road?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Its a sad day... Only in Japan ... you can kill 2 people and only get 7 years. I don't know about anyone else, but as a parent, that would make me mad. Japanese need to stand up and fight sometimes....

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Given that he plowed into the kids on the sidewalk -- not them running out into the street to get hit -- 7 years for two young lives seems pretty lenient to me. He should indeed have gotten the 15 years

3 ( +5 / -2 )

WTF only 7 years should have been life!

4 ( +5 / -2 )

I thought 15 years was paltry and now 7? Sheesh......

4 ( +4 / -1 )

The lives of two innocent children I worth seven years in Japan,

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Accidents happen.

-6 ( +2 / -7 )

Stranger_in_a_Strange_LandNov. 17, 2012 - 07:30PM JST

Accidents happen.

If you CAUSE an "accident" by speeding through a red light, it's not an accident. This was unintentional homicide at best, you can call it murder if you can prove the guy knew running a red light was dangerous. Considering it's on your drivers manual/test, this guy should have been sentenced to 25 years for murder.

2 ( +6 / -5 )

If you CAUSE an "accident" by speeding through a red light, it's not an accident. This was unintentional homicide at best, you can call it murder if you can prove the guy knew running a red light was dangerous. Considering it's on your drivers manual/test, this guy should have been sentenced to 25 years for murder.

Running the red light was not intentional. This is vehicular manslaughter and 7-15 years is about right given how remorseful this guy must be. I can recall the Japanese driver who fell asleep at the wheel and crashed that van in the states a year ago and he only got one year. You have to consider the fact that this guy has to live with this for the rest of his life and that in itself is punishment.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This case & others I have seen prove that LIFE is cheap in Japan

How sad!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Basroil

If you CAUSE an "accident" by speeding through a red light, it's not an accident. This was unintentional homicide at best

Yes, it is. That's the unintentional part.

7 years seems a long time to me.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

To darknuts... What?? you really think running a red light was NOT intentional? I have to very much disagree.. all these Japanese driver out here that run red lights... are knowingly disregarding the rules.. laws whatever you may call them. And I have to ask everyone here... if this was your child... would 7 years be enough??? That is the big question everyone needs to ask themselves before they respond or post a comment. Even though the guy said "Gomen" and what not.. To me I would for sure make a HUGE deal about this guy only getting 7 years. If it was my child..

2 ( +3 / -1 )

you really think running a red light was NOT intentional?

Seems to me the guy had lost control of his vehicle. Not the typical last few cars that go through after the light has turned.

if this was your child... would 7 years be enough???

Instead of the emotional, completely unanswerable, pointless question you have poised, how about leaving the blood thirsty revenge angle alone and asking, Does society benefit by locking this man up for 7 years? Is the society safer? If it was just a once-in-a-lifetime type accident, then probably not. There is a lot of missing info here, like why did the man lose control of his vehicle? What exactly happened to cause him to crash into people and utility poles? The article doesn't say, but true to form the majority of posters here are 1. Baying for blood. 2. Citing this as yet more proof of some inherent fault with Japanese society.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This is an unintentional accident. Yes, it was grievous and horrible, yes, two children were killed, but they were not murdered. This guy was stupid for going through a red light but that's not a judge of his character.

Prisons ought to be for malicious, dangerous criminals. This guy is practically a kid himself, not a murderer, just had bad judgment that had the worst consequences. His crime was speeding, going on the sidewalk and running the light, that's all, I knew many idiots in college who did worse behind the wheel but never hit anyone.

If you ask me? License suspended for life, a couple months to scare him, then a couple decades of community service. Yes, I'm serious.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I wouldn't say life, but 7 years is way too lenient!!! Japanese laws a so stupid. He should have gotten 15 years at least if its involuntary manslaughter. If he was drunk or on drugs, then 25 years to life would be warranted.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

he should be on curfew

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's so telling that people are saying that "those kids' lives are worth only seven years". It shows that you want to punish to make yourselves feel better, not to ameliorate society.

There is no equation for what a life is worth, and it can't be counted in years. Yes, it's horrible. Yes, it was probably avoidable, but keeping this guy in jail for life will not bring those kids back. Honestly, if you're one of those people who is, as SIASL aptly put it "baying for blood", then please point out one study that shows retributive justice reforms criminals.

This guy made a mistake and it was probably stupid. But stupid doesn't mean malicious, and death doesn't mean murder. An enlightened society doesn't punish wantonly.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is robbery. This guy should be hanged. Too extreme right ?

He is 100% at fault. The children were walking on the sidewalk with their grandparent. He took the wheel and ran over the kids on the sidewalk. No fault on the victims. This is manslaughter, should just call it murder.

Mistakes happen, well too bad. Want to drive - Take full responsibility for your actions.

If pedestrians break rules and jaywalk, walk in front of traffic, etc. Well that's a different story and the driver should not be accountable for that, but for something like this when it is no fault of the pedestrian. Give the rope to the driver! It'll result in serious drivers who will have no choice but to hold themselves accountable when they are behind the wheel, and in doing so, it will pretty much eliminate all the freaks behind the wheel.

I like how folks say "keeping this guy in jail for life will not bring those kids back" or "mistakes happen"

You're of point. Having extreme penalties for these sorts of things will pretty much ensure drivers are serious when they are behind the wheel and are accountable. With these pathetic sentences, why should drivers be scared ? Take 2 lives = 7 years and don't forget early release, take 4 lives - I guess 14 years ? Stupid justice system!

RIP poor souls.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

This is a very tragic event, but it really seems like an accident. He wasn't drunk right? Just not paying attention to the road? First time hearing about the story but from this article it doesn't seem like he was drunk. So why go so hard on him? Did he not seem "sorry" enough for the judge? Meanwhile, we've got young mothers who murder their own child because he/she is "hyper" or "misbehaves" and because the mother seems remorseful, they'll be lucky to get three years.

Just another day in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Very sad day for the families involved. Hopefully, these tragic events don't occur too often, and Japanese drivers don't learn bad habits and lazy driving from countries like America or the UK.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

southsakai:

Having extreme penalties for these sorts of things will pretty much ensure drivers are serious when they are behind the wheel and are accountable. With these pathetic sentences, why should drivers be scared ?

Imagine the freedom you've enjoyed for the last 365 days. Think of how life has changed over that time. Remember every cold or flu, every night out for drinks, every family gathering, every morning you got to sleep in, or listen to the rain hit your windows while you're curled up with a glass of wine. Now take all that away times seven and replace it with a life of hard labour, waking up at 6am every day, being a number, never being able to pick up the phone and chat to a loved one. Never being able to make love to your partner. Think of how awful your life would be.

Do you think anybody in the world thinks seven years of that is worth making a red light? No. Do you think that this guy isn't remorseful? Mistakes happen and life is unfair. What you're trying to do is to bring a semblance of fairness to a world where these things happen. Hurting this man further is merely a symbolic gesture for people like you. You cannot live with the idea that we can lose our loved ones so easily. But we can. That is life. You can kill or imprison everybody who makes mistakes and guess what: another fallible human will step up and make a mistake. I promise you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@chooch, I read what you are saying, does this also go for foreigners or military that are in involved with honest mistakes? This driver admitted to running the red light and I think he also admitted to driving on the sidewalk to miss other cars when he struck and killed the two children and put the grand parents in the hospital.

What kind of drivers education does japan have to teach vehicle operators to run people over instead of stopping at a red light or hitting another vehicle? Or was part of his plan was to continue to Kawasaki with his two friends not worrying about traffic regulations?

@caps1 Are you serious? From your comment on Japanese drivers and bad habits, obviously you have never driven in Japan. The unwritten two to three car rule to run red lights and not pulling over immediately for emergency vehicles, etc. I have lived in Japan and Okinawa since 1999 and can honestly say that driving habits here do not follow any norm depending on how much of a hurry you are in or how deep your pockets are to pay gomen money after being in accidents like this on in 2010.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Chooch is 100% right, imo.

I wonder how they arrived at the figure of 7 years? What makes that number the right one? Let's assume that there was no penalty at all, would the number of these type of incidents increase? Assuming they would (and it is an assumption), so we add a penalty of jail time (assuming another form of punishment wouldn't be more effective, and that is a big assumption) to try and reduce them. What is the correct amount of jail time? This type of thing needs to be studied.

Let's say 1 year prison time reduces these type of accidents by 50% by "scaring" people into concentrating harder, maybe a 2nd year would reduce it a further 10% and after that further jail time has no more effect in reducing fatal traffic accidents. Lot of assumptions here, but maybe people can get my point. What exactly is the most effective punishment needs to be studied in depth, logically and dispassionately. Wringing your hangs and screaming for revenge does not improve society or it's criminal justice system.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land:

logically and dispassionately

And there is the rub. If the victims made the laws, we'd be beheading people for stealing car stereos.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can't comment on the jail sentence as there aren't enough details to know all the angles. All I can say is that I am surprised this kind of tragedy doesn't happen more often. I have been driving in Japan daily for about 16 years and all you see is aggressive and angry driving. People rarely stop or slow down to let people merge. And they rarely wait until kids and the elderly have fully crossed the street, but instead just breeze by them. Running red lights on right turns is pretty much di rigueu.

These kids were only 21. Testosterone fueled stupidity was likely a factor. But it also has to do with the kind of enforcement you see from Japan's finest. It's clear from the accidents you see that the cause is bad driving...running red lights, rapid lane changes and tailgating.

So what do I see daily on the highway? The cops pulling over cars that are speeding and ignoring the guys barreling past in trucks changing lanes as if they were doing the Indy 500. Why? Because it makes more money and it's an easy prosecution since there is no judgement involved. Meanwhile, guys like these get away with reckless driving until it's too late and somebody dies. But that makes sense I guess, as it's now an easy prosecution for the J-cops. Sad, indeed!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is very difficult to decide what punishment would be suitable here. Can see both sides. What if kids (or adults) ran onto the road and then a car swerves to avoid them and then the car hits a tree and the driver dies? Should the kids (or adults) get 7 years? Or less? Or more?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It should be a life time in prison ... what kind of a justice system it is .

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Again with no mention of WHY the car ran a red light, ran up on the sidewalk (hitting pedestrians in the process), and slammed into a power pole. Unless the driver is a psychopath, he isn't going to do all that INTENTIONALLY. Did the brakes fail? Was the driver intoxicated or under the influence of another drug? Why is this most basic of information regarding the trial being suppressed by JT?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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