crime

Truck driver gets 3 years in prison for killing 9-year-old boy while playing Pokemon Go

42 Comments

A 36-year-old truck driver who was playing Pokemon Go when he hit and killed a 9-year-old boy last year, was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday by the Ichinomiya branch of the Nagoya District Court.

The court found Nobusuke Kawai guilty of reckless driving resulting in death when he hit Keita Noritake, who was on his way home from school at around 4 p.m. last Oct 26, Fuji TV reported. The boy was walking on a pedestrian crossing with no traffic lights.

Kawai admitted he was playing Pokemon Go and did not see the boy crossing the road. He also admitted that he frequently had his smartphone on the seat and played Pokemon Go while driving.

Prosecutors had sought a four-year sentence.

The boy's father expressed dissatisfaction with the three-year sentence, calling it too light, and said he will consult with lawyers about suing Kawai for damages.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
Login to comment

3 years for the life of a 9 year old child. Where is the justice in that?

13 ( +16 / -3 )

This is a comparatively harsh sentence. They are focussing on the point of playing the game and not of inattentive driving. His offense of playing PG is no different to any other inattentive driver. At present, the fine for using a cell phone while driving is ¥50,000, which should be high enough to be a deterrent, but due to the passive nature of policing it is not. I drive 23klm to and from work every day on a major route and I'd estimate at least a third to half of the drivers I see have their cell phones in their hands. That is not counting those watching TV on their navigation sets, which is also illegal. I saw a truck driver with an iPad Mini on his steering wheel. I'm not saying his sentence is too long, but it is harsh compared to other inattentive drivers, who commit the same offense. They are sending the message that, using your phone is acceptable as long as you are not playing Pokemon Go.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

There is no justice in Japan's "justice" system

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Crimes like this should be tried under vehicular homicide, with a minimum sentence of 10 years.

The prosecution only requested 4 years so he was not going to get much in the first place. Vehicular manslaughter carries light sentences in many places. As fathers or even as daily pedestrians encountering crazy drivers, of course a lot of us hopes for a long distance though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Am I reading this correctly? 3 YEARS?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not enough time, 3 years for something that could have been avoided!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One would hope this man would spend the rest of his live trying to atone for this tragedy.

I wouldn't be able to live with myself to be honest.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The boy’s father expressed dissatisfaction with the three-year sentence, calling it too light, and said he will consult with lawyers about suing Kawai for damages

He's right. This judgement is obscene. I can't even begin to imagine what the poor father is feeling. I can't.

I wouldn't be able to live with myself to be honest.

Because you are a decent human being, Mike.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Unbelievable.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Let me try to wrap my mind around this! If someone kills another person, they get.....ummmm....... roughly about 5 years max. (I could be wrong). I really hope this father gets a lot of money from the truck driver.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I wish someone that actually understands Japanese law can explain why the prosecutors only charged him with reckless driving resulting in death and requested a sentence of only 4 years.

There has to be something in the criminal code that resulted in what is clearly a sentence not fitting of the crime, even if the crime was unintentional.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese justice system is so damn aggravating!!!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ridiculously lenient. Have the judges no shame?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Three years for murder? Preventable murder. His job was driving. Not playing stupid games on his phone. He killed a kid. Three years? He killed a kid while playing a stupid game. Three years? Japan has got to take driving and the LIVES of CHILDREN much more seriously. He'll be out and driving again in three years. What stupid games will he be playing then?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

What a stab in the back for the parents this must be, I feel so sorry for them.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The value of life in the Japanese justice system is just mind boggling.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

seriously wrong with the judicial system.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"Prosecutors had sought a four-year sentence." - This is insane.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Need to get my eyes checked... I'm reading this as THREE years. Makes you wonder, which is a worse human being; a man who stupidly and neglectfully kills a child or the scum who only gives that killer 1095 days in prison. I say the latter. Put them both in prison for much longer.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I've probably lost hours of my life waiting for some clown glued to his iCrack fail to notice the light has turned green. Still, that's nothing compared to what this family lost. The cops really need to start putting out a stronger message, if they put a man with a camera at a busty junction they'd catch a hundred perps an hour.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good job the driver didn't have any marijuana on him when he was arrested, otherwise he might have received a serious sentence. 3 years that is shocking...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

** busy junction, not busty. Wishful thinking I suppose.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I saw a guy eating cup noodles with a pair of chopsticks while driving today that was a new one. I agree 3 years is waaaay too short of a sentence for taking the life of a child by negligence.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Japanese legal system is not medieval" shouts an old man at the UN. 3 years for a death of a child, suspended sentence for beating a temp worker to death (was the company president after all). 1 year for theft of ¥10 yen, no charges for rape as his "talent" mother made an apology. Have cancer and use dope a squad of cops will fly across the country to bust you. Kill someone after raping them get a wrap on the knuckles, take a bribe if your a political representative nothing. Not medieval its 2017 beautiful Japan style.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Boy, there are a lot of folks here I wouldn't want to see on a jury.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

There is many acts of Stupidity resulting in death that attract longer Goal terms. This is a prim example.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is not right! 3 years for recklessly taking a life! He will out in no time.

The government needs to know that any campaign that tells people not to use their phones, driving or walking isn't working and with this kind of sentence, makes it less likely they'll put their phones away.

A few weeks ago some guy tried squeezing through a green-light crossing between pedestrians instead of waiting for them to fully cross whilst his smartphone in his other hand glancing at it.

Hey government, you want to make money, put cameras at major crossings and junction. If you are caught with your phone, instant ban and heavy fine, do it again face a short sentence, injury or kill someone - a minimum of 10 years.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is very unsatisfactory! That idiot should be punished severely, those idiots using phone while driving are very dangerous and risking others' lives. :(

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The boy’s father expressed dissatisfaction with the three-year sentence, calling it too light, and said he will consult with lawyers about suing Kawai for damages.

Street justice does have its time and place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow three years for killing a child? kind of harsh, don't you think.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Rather confusing how so many are using 'homicide' and 'murder' in their posts on this thread. It makes me think they probably do not know the exact meaning of the words.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Guess the moral of the story is that if you want justice, don't look for it in the courts --

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

3 years? Should be 23 years

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Three years. What an insult and slap in the face to the family and friends of this boy. You get a higher penalty for drugs in many cases.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

His offense of playing PG is no different to any other inattentive driver. At present, the fine for using a cell phone while driving is ¥50,000, which should be high enough to be a deterrent, but due to the passive nature of policing it is not. I drive 23klm to and from work every day on a major route and I'd estimate at least a third to half of the drivers I see have their cell phones in their hands. That is not counting those watching TV on their navigation sets, which is also illegal. I saw a truck driver with an iPad Mini on his steering wheel. I'm not saying his sentence is too long, but it is harsh compared to other inattentive drivers, who commit the same offense. They are sending the message that, using your phone is acceptable as long as you are not playing Pokemon Go.

This doesn't make any sense at all. You are comparing a fine for using a cell phone to a prison sentence for killing a child.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is that all? Disgraceful!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

how long would the court give the father if he kills the reckless driver for killing his son??

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There is not much reason to throw him into jail. He did not do it voluntarily, out of mere and sheer stupidity. They can not let him go either, that would send a wrong message across. Three years will be enough for him to get over his addiction to idiotic mobile games, weight of what he did added. The real danger is the game on phones while driving, THAT should be persecuted. Taking this man away from the society benefits no-one. He is going to be re-integrated into the society without much effort after leaving the prison in three years. All there is to it. Not some rotten justice system, not some senselessly bloodthirsty online executioners.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

He is going to be re-integrated into the society without much effort after leaving the prison in three years.

I disagree. He'll have a criminal record and the system will probably have broken him.

That being said, three years is a joke for the life of a nine year old.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is no point arguing over the "Younger the victim longer the sentence" kind of insanity. Good thing there are some in the society that use logic AND actually pass the judgement upon.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@DogdogMAR. 09, 2017 - 02:54PM JST

Be that as it may, in Japanese criminal law, homicide (殺人) is defined as causing the death of a person, either by action or inaction, with intent. Intent may be subdivided into Purpose (意図) and Intent (故意), the former meaning he wants it to happen, the latter meaning he is "OK" with it happening without wanting it.

Since an honest assessment of his mental state will probably say this guy is not "OK" with killing the kid, the definition of homicide was not met.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wow

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites