crime

Prosecutors seek 7-year prison term for 90-year-old ex-bureaucrat in fatal driving case

43 Comments

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.

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43 Comments
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just 7 years for killing a mother and the child?

Well, at his age, he probably won't spend those years in the cell but restricted to his house.

Despite that I ask the question: how much worth is the life of a person?

12 ( +15 / -3 )

He should have the death penalty if there were any justice in this country. A lonely death in prison will have to do I guess. Hopefully his familys name has been stained forever.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

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.

Further evidence of how much of a joke the Japanese “justice” system is. Repugnant.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

And what will that 7 years achieve?

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

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.

Even if this was a fact, he would be negligent for not ensuring his vehicle was safe for the road... (shaken!)

19 ( +19 / -0 )

This guy keeps stating he is not guilty of taking the lives of 2 innocent people! He also openly admits he should have stopped driving years ago, and still maintains that it's the fault of the car!

This is the same as blaming a gun for shooting someone, or the knife, in a stabbing!

Considering he is a former (cough cough) bureaucrat he expects people to believe him! (NOT!)

21 ( +22 / -1 )

And what will that 7 years achieve?

Oh so because of his age, you think he should walk?

What's an appropriate sentence then?

12 ( +15 / -3 )

He'll probably walk away from this. Ridiculous.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

What's an appropriate sentence then?

Fit him with an ankle bracelet and sentence him to home confinement for twenty years. That'd save taxpayers a lot of money and still act as a deterrent.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Well that took along time, and he still has no empathy for his victims or any sense of responsibility. A pitiful human.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

…car was more than 10 years old and that its braking system had deteriorated over time…

That lawyer is quite crazy. That’s improbable as you need to give your car into maintenance and official check every two years. They surely didn’t forget there to test the breaking system five times in a row. lol

15 ( +15 / -0 )

justaskingToday  04:48 pm JST

And what will that 7 years achieve?

Well errrr y'know some sort of justice in that he's criminally responsible.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Well, at his age, he probably won't spend those years in the cell but restricted to his house.

So... retirement?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

He won't do a single day

6 ( +8 / -2 )

mmhhh I have the solution... i guess 31years - 3years = 28years / 4 = 7years jail term

Yes this is the only logical answer possible, otherwise there is no logical answer to such shame.

were fatally hit by Iizuka, then 89, in Tokyo's Ikebukuro District on April 19, 2019.  

.. I want the name of the person who confirmed his driver's license at 89 years old

9 ( +10 / -1 )

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.

The lawyer should be prosecuted too for attempting to use that excuse.

I understand that he's got to come up with some kind of mitigation for his client, but surely 'my client is 90 years old and maintains that he has no recollection of the events on that day', would be more likely to have some success than claiming there was a technical problem with the car - which has been disproved by professional people who understand how car components actually work.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

The lawyer said Iizuka’s car was more than 10 years old and that its braking system had deteriorated over time.

Would have had a car inspection (shakken) around about a year ago, and braking systems are an item that is checked.

More BS from a bureaucrat and lawyer.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

He's got the connections for a suspended sentence. Not impressed with the prosecution only seeking 7 years. Definitely a collusion going on.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Expect little of old men in this country and you will have a much better time.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Disgusting liar. Japanese cars are most reliable in the world. Cannot believe a 90 year old man cannot repent.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

It took so much people mobilizations to get to this point.

The men was not even indicted in the first place. And then the prosecutor keept helping the defense.

"1st class citizen" it's been trending topic in Japan since this trial.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Accidents can happen to anyone, no matter what age. Incidents like this serve to remind us all to maintain our vehicles, stay alert and aware, and exercise prudent caution at all times.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm pretty certain his brain deteriorated over time, along with his reflexes. My first car was a 20 year old Honda Accord. Wasn't so pretty but the accelerator and brakes worked just fine.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

And the husband and Father. I can't imagine the grief. Japanese prosecutors are useless. It's taken almost two years to come to this point and they're only pushing for 7 years for the killing of an innocent mother and child? Multiple witnesses, I'm assuming it was caught on CCTV and he's been free for two years???

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Maybe the Japananese justice system should do what US does and give symbolic 200 year sentences.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Seven years may seem a light sentence for senile misadventure but it might well be a life sentence for this gentleman. There are no good or fair solutions for this terrible tragedy and, whatever happens to this man, it really doesn't matter relative to the enormity of loss which everyone in this story has already suffered. Sadly, the driver seems to have lied to avoid responsibility according to the techs and, from my meagre intuition into the Japanese mind, I cannot see ANY Japanese judge forgiving THAT. "There but for the grace of G-d, on both sides, go any of us..." but it's best not to lie about it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Mana Matsunaga, 31, daughter, Riko, 3, family, Father have had every hope a joy, that was or could have been. snatched away from them, a life sentence.

All the love and affection of his wife and child taken away.

To hear Iizuka tell the court that he should have stopped driving years ago. Then Iizuka lawyer scramble and crawl with excuses finding loopholes just adds insult to injury.

It is shameful act of cruelty.

Iizuka dies in prison.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Cant imagine what the father is going through...a perfect example of them and us disgusting..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well that took along time, and he still has no empathy for his victims or any sense of responsibility. A pitiful human.

Exactly! I haven't heard a peep out of him with any sympathy for the victims. Just plain making excuses left and right. Not only does he need to serve his sentence, his life savings that he got from his cushy job should go to the husband/father. Money doesn't bring anyone back I know but it puts a damper on the person paying. The problem with this case is that you have an average joe which is the husband and you have an ex-politician who could afford the best lawyers. At least where I come from, if the case is big, good lawyers will donate their services to those who can't normally afford the best lawyers.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Well that took along time, and he still has no empathy for his victims or any sense of responsibility. A pitiful human.

This absolute lack of remorse is distressing me.

I bet that prosecutors are maneuvering all the case, and that old men is just a puppet.

If the j-justice were more transparent, we would follow the trial on TV and have some insights from lawyers and witnesses.

Sadly, this is Asia, it will never be transparency.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"The car's electronic components caused a malfunction that prevented the brakes from properly working.

I do not own a car in Japan, but when I lived in Dubai, every year I had to relicense my mine, which required it to undergo a fairly thorough inspection. Are Japanese vehicle inspections so lax, brakes are not sufficently checked.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

vehicle inspections so lax, brakes are not sufficiently checked.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@PTownsend yeah they are not so laxed here with inspections personally I think they are pretty strict from the dealings that I have had.This was not a mechanical fault it was human error but since this old guy is in the know he gets a stay out of jail card for free..

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Then 87 year old driver, in 2019 was killing 2 people and injuring several others, speed +90 km/h, ignoring a red signal in city area of Tokyo, Ikebukuro and he is claiming his car is faulty. I hope his driving licence is now cancelled for the rest of his life, but in Japan you never know. So far nothing happened to him, never even arrested since this fatal accident happened 2 years ago.

I think, he is just doing everything to win time and to delay any final decision by courts which might take years to enjoy the rest of his life in freedom.

I feel bad for the husband and father who lost his wife and daughter - and it seems he did not even receive anything from that person, not even a sincere apology - who was causing this accident.

Generally I think, Japan needs to create a driving licence for seniors 75+ of age, restricting them to use only small cars, regular health/driving ability checks every two year, some conditions like that.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

During one vehicle inspection, turns out the tires on my car were not those specified for its type, so my mechanic swapped them out for the specified type, it passed inspection, and then he swapped them back. Another time, I noticed that the horn on my custom steering wheel had a little drawing of a trumpet taped on it - apparently, that's part of shaken: it's like, "What's this little button in the middle of my steering wheel for? I need some kind of image." He's a genius for evading the BS of shaken, but he'd never overlook something important - like brakes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

PTownsendToday 12:17 pm JST

vehicle inspections so lax, brakes are not sufficiently checked.

My car is with the dealer service every 6 months for either 6 months, 12 months and 24 months (shaken) inspection.

Should the brake suddenly malfunction during driving, you need only to switch off the engine, set gear to neutral regardless if manual or automatic car and put on the hand brake.

No way the car will speed up by itself uncontrolled to more than 90 km/h.

No excuse what happened, but as a 'special person' he will likely get away with a suspended sentence.

I guess he will never spend even a single day in jail.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

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,

what was the speed limit on this road? was he speeding? if so it sounds like he could not be bothered to stop at the red stop light.

"The car's electronic components caused a malfunction that prevented the brakes from properly working."

 Iizuka's car after the accident found nothing wrong with the brake or pedal

accidentally pressed accelerator

travelling at 90KPH in a town? I am sure the speed limit will be lower than this.

My friend told me how expesive the biannual check was on his car, the biannual check, the garage goes through the whole cars parts checking for any defects, although in the UK its every year, but its not as expensive, this way defective parts can be picked up earlier, thus making them more safe.

so upon reading the above article, i am sure he was speeding and could not be bothered to stop at the light, he blamed the fault on his car which there is no evidence, then went to excuse two he pressed the wrong peddle, either its faulty brakes or the peddle, it cant be both. I just smell a load of horse manure here.

I feel sorry that two innocent lives have been taken away by this mans actions, and he should be held accountable for his actions, he should never be allowed to drive again as for the punishment, i dont know, should he go to jail? yes hes killed two people.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Gave up driving 13 years ago after having massive herpes issues with my eyes. One bike lamp coming towards me looked like ten cars. One should use pure logic on knowing when to quit drivng.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

When Kozo Iizuka ventured out that day, Iizuka knew he should have handed over his driving license a decade ago.

If Kozo Iizuka is handed down a suspended sentence and walks free.

It will present the ultimate pejorative insult to Mana Matsunaga, 31, and her daughter, Riko, 3 memory.

The family would be consigned to witness the the very principle of justice, equity, rectitude thrown under the alter of Kozo Iizuka ability to call on past approbation, in affect leverage, take political advantage and force on society his will..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Witnesses say the car looked like it was doing over 80km/h on a city center road with a 50km/h speed limit.

Cars do not reach that speed on flat roads due to a brake failure. He deserves the maximum sentence for continuing to lie and showing no remorse whatsoever. Toyota should also sue him for defaming their cars.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well that took along time, and he still has no empathy for his victims or any sense of responsibility. A pitiful human.

Exactly! I haven't heard a peep out of him with any sympathy for the victims. Just plain making excuses left and right.

HE'S A POLITICIAN!! Politicians do not know truth from lies, only what sounds best for them. And their actual concern for other Humans...B'wah ha ha ha

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Despite that I ask the question: how much worth is the life of a person?

@klausdorth to me at least, a life is worth more than seven years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a bleeming joke this so called justice system here is! I think the punishment should all come down to whatever the widowed father says should happen to this ol fella!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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