Prosecutors in Tokyo have called for a seven-year jail term for a 90-year-old man for dangerous driving resulting in death.
Kozo Iizuka, a former senior bureaucrat of the now-defunct Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, has pleaded not guilty to negligent driving resulting in death. Mana Matsunaga, 31, and her daughter, Riko, 3, were fatally hit by Iizuka, then 89, in Tokyo's Ikebukuro District on April 19, 2019.
Prosecutors claimed Iizuka went through a red light after pressing the accelerator instead of the brake pedal. His car, traveling at more than 90 kilometers per hour, swerved before hitting Matsunaga and her daughter who were on a bicycle.
Iizuka’s lawyer claimed that Iizuka was innocent of involuntary manslaughter because he "pressed the brake pedal, but it failed to slow the car down,” Fuji TV reported. The lawyer said Iizuka’s car was more than 10 years old and that its braking system had deteriorated over time.
Iizuka's lawyer added, "The car's electronic components caused a malfunction that prevented the brakes from properly working."
However, an inspection of Iizuka's car after the accident found nothing wrong with the brake or pedal. When prosecutors questioned whether Iizuka might have accidentally pressed accelerator in a moment of panic, his defense attorney replied, “Mr Iizuka has maintained he did not.”
After the incident, Iizuka was indicted without arrest in February last year triggering a public outcry that he had been given preferential treatment due to his former government position, Kyodo News reported.
Iizuka told the court that he should have stopped driving years ago.
The verdict will be handed down on Sept 2.© Japan Today