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U.S. seeks resolution for naval officer jailed in Japan over fatal car crash

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By Simon Lewis

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His family says Alkonis lost consciousness without warning while driving. Alkonis was detained and imprisoned for 26 days in solitary confinement.

He got his verdict on July this year, from May 2021 to July 2022 he was in detention all those time. Now he is in prison for another three years, from time of his accident to 2025. He is in Japan custody just because traffic accident, including 26 days solitary confinement.

-5 ( +12 / -17 )

3 years seem short for taking 2 lives. He should spend that time thinking about those 2 people.

27 ( +39 / -12 )

Sometimes someone has to pay for "acts of dog." 2 people died.

It seems to be 100% an accident. I assume his drivers license has been canceled. After medical treatment is proven to prevent whatever caused the situation, he can get tested for a DL again, if ever. He should be driving a desk, if released.

As long as Japanese law was followed to a reasonable outcome, seems fair. Should he shave his head too?

5 ( +17 / -12 )

SOFA doesn't grant US service men a jailbreak card.

Lt Alkonis has 3 years to reflect the moment of his accident and what to do with his life after he's released.

11 ( +22 / -11 )

Alkonis family is too selfish. They should be thankful he only got 3 years in prison. He took 2 lives. No matter what the reason.

15 ( +27 / -12 )

What does Price mean by “finding a successful resolution” I wonder. Does that mean pressuring Japan into releasing the convicted US Navy lieutenant before he has finished serving his sentence?

18 ( +23 / -5 )

Alkonis family is too selfish. They should be thankful he only got 3 years in prison. He took 2 lives. No matter what the reason.

So if, for example, a sudden unpredictable gust of wind makes you lose balance in your bicycle , and while falling you push an old lady into traffic then you would be completely fine by being accused of negligent driving causing death?

The point of the defense is that this is an accident that the accused had no way to foresee or prevent, the reasons are extremely important.

-2 ( +17 / -19 )

American government employees should walk or take a taxi when abroad. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Harry_Dunn

6 ( +14 / -8 )

U.S. officials have been in touch with their Japanese counterparts to seek a resolution in the case of U.S. naval officer Ridge Alkonis, 

The resolution is for Alkonis to do his time in jail.

20 ( +24 / -4 )

Alkonis' family in online appeals has argued that the officer, who has expressed remorse and attempted to help the victims' family, was convicted based on a "false narrative" that he knowingly drove while fatigued.

The guy was hiking in the mountains all day. Are you going to tell us that he was not fatigued? Moreover, can the family be impartial?

13 ( +20 / -7 )

" resolution that is consistent with U.S. law, with Japanese law, as well as with existing treaties," Price said"

There is NO such a thing, when you are in any nation you brake the law or in this case have an accident and caused death or harm, the laws of that nation apply and you are at the mercy of their laws. simple as that.

Some may try to twist it but that is a different story.

21 ( +23 / -2 )

A judge determined that he fell asleep at the wheel - based on no facts, just his interpretation of the incident.

At the time of the accident he was mid sentence in conversation with his wife and slumped forward and to the side. His daughter in the rear called out to him "Dad, Dad"

The car was traveling at low speed, but careered out of control.

Sadly 2 people died.

He was arrested and never had any kind of medical examination.

External doctors & experts determined that he suffered from a delayed altitude sickness episode - not rare at all.

But the judge in his infinite medical wisdom said no.

The family raised over $1.5 million as compensation to the family - which would likely be at least 10 times more than normal in Japan. Yes - I know money can't bring back life, but.....!

And as a throw-away, I believe a member of the judiciary involved in the case was coincidentally a member of the victims family.

Not everything is as it looks on the surface.

-6 ( +14 / -20 )

Only 3 years? For taking 2 lives? Is this some kind of a joke?

17 ( +24 / -7 )

virusrexToday  07:58 am JST

The point of the defense is that this is an accident that the accused had no way to foresee or prevent, the reasons are extremely important.

This sentence is missing an "IF": The point of the defense is that IF this is an accident that the accused etc.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The guy was hiking in the mountains all day. Are you going to tell us that he was not fatigued? Moreover, can the family be impartial?

This would have been a very good argument to discuss in court, not summarily dismissed and the professional opinion that sudden mountain sickness is a possibility completely ignored. The problem is not that the accused has been proved innocent, but that the arguments he has have been completely ignored which should not be the case for a fair trial. Determine objectively the defense is not valid (not just on the supposed medical authority of the judge) and the problem would be solved.

the laws of that nation apply and you are at the mercy of their laws. simple as that.

His argument is not that he should be above the laws, but that the deaths be considered an unforeseeable accident instead of something caused by negligence.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

For the people on this board baying for blood like an outraged internet mob from China, here's hoping you never get into any accidents here in Japan. While it's tragic that this accident happened, compounding it with injustice is not the answer.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

There have been a number of fatal car accidents from very aged drivers stepping on the accelerator instead of the brake or whatever in recent times. I might be wrong but It think they all got suspended sentences and didn't spend long in jail if at all, Of course they were all Japanese citizens and some had previous jobs of influence. Did they even lose their licenses. Just saying,

6 ( +12 / -6 )

He was arrested and never had any kind of medical examination.

External doctors & experts determined that he suffered from a delayed altitude sickness episode - not rare at all.

But the judge in his infinite medical wisdom said no.

If this info is correct, then it truly is an accident with nobody at fault.

I'm surprised no medical exam was done, at least to see if there was alcohol or drugs in his system.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Why must Japanese law be kind to this man? 2 lives lost, he should get more years !

0 ( +10 / -10 )

US seeks resolution for naval officer jailed in Japan over fatal car crash:

A person proven guilty of an offense based on the nation's law would be jailed accordingly.

Should US simply jut in to intervene with sovereign Japan's judiciary decision on its own accord..?

0 ( +8 / -8 )

He got off lightly.

Do your time and be quiet.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

26 days? My mate was kept in a cell 49 days, the maximum, for defending himself against a Japanese guy punching him first. That guy suffered a bruised rib, while this naval guy killed two people. Strange.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Apparently other witnesses in the car / passengers say he became unconscious while driving and the crash didn't wake him up either.

So it doesn't sound like he just fell asleep at the wheel .

It's a sad situation and my condolences to the perished.

I don't feel he should be treated as a criminal and the judge isn't a physician.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Why are Americans so entitled?

0 ( +12 / -12 )

The US wants to seek resolution....so do the victims family. He should be lucky he only got 3 yrs. There was a similar case in the UK a few yrs ago, a US service mans wife ran down and killed a man because she was driving on the wrong side of the road. What did she do......she caught the earliest flight back to the US after claiming diplomatic immunity. That case is still ongoing. years later.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

@browny1Today 08:57 am JST

External doctors & experts determined that he suffered from a delayed altitude sickness episode - not rare at all.

Alkonis doesn't only need to suffer from delayed altitude sickness. He needs to get the variant that makes him conk out instantly. If you scour the world, such cases do exist but they are extremely low probability compared to the odds Alkonis and his family just lied with the help of lawyers and all the medical advice from the United States Navy.

I still hadn't seen a report that concretely states Alkonis' maximum altitude, or the time he stayed there. However in general terms, It's actually HARD to reach an altitude in a car where altitude sickness is a problem on Fuji. The state roads end at just over 2200m, and while it is possible to go on a bicycle to 2700m, that's on private roads where Alkonis should not have been driving on.

He was almost certainly not faced with air more severe than that available on an airliner, and supposing he somehow made it to a dangerous altitude, now he's confessing to taking his kids to an altitude where a sudden conkout is a possibility. Either way, that's not the way to show he did his duty of care.

Doctors are not like prosecutors in that they generally assume the patient is honest. He can be mistaken, but he's sincere because his priority is on getting fixed. When, however, he is facing criminal penalties and has no immediate problems to fix, the possibility of dishonesty go way up. It's within the discretion of the judge to just not believe it. And this guy would have access to the required knowledge to make a good lie - the US Navy surely has substantial institutional knowledge regarding hypoxia.

The family raised over $1.5 million as compensation to the family - which would likely be at least 10 times more than normal in Japan. Yes - I know money can't bring back life, but.....!

Two things. First, by American standards, $1.5 million for two lives is dirt cheap. Didn't we just have a case where over some defamation, the payout was EIGHT POINT TWO MILLION?

https://www.npr.org/2022/08/13/1117365135/roy-moore-defamation-suit-award-super-pac

I don't think anyone is blind to this reality. Second, *jidan is a thing but your mental attitude is a problem. Jidan assumes the defendant is genuinely sorry. The payout is not because he is trying to escape prison, but an extra from genuine repentance. If this mental attitude is real, it arguably eliminates the need for a conviction and that's the basis for exercising prosecutorial discretion*.

It is very different from trying to escape a conviction by handing out some money, far less than it would have cost him in his home country, too.

Of course, we understand that Tatemae and Honne are different, but Alkonis' family clearly isn't interested in putting up even the Tatemae.

And as a throw-away, I believe a member of the judiciary involved in the case was coincidentally a member of the victims family.

OK, let's say it is true. We'd also say that the immediate family pushed this member, who pushed the judiciary. In this specific case, so what? If anything, that would mean the Victims hadn't voluntarily reconciled with the Defendant. Which means even to the extent a reconciliation with the victim can excuse a defendant, that condition wasn't reached as a matter of fact.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

U.S. seeks resolution

If the defendant has been treated differently to Japanese, it should.

Just 3 years in prison seems a big mitigation for 2 lost lives, though.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Typical American sense of entitlement. He slept behind the wheel, then he killed 2 people, lies about altitude sickness, yet he wants leniency. I think he got off lightly he should've gotten at leat 10 years behind bars. I think the relatives of the deceased are the ones deserving resolution.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Japanese justice really over weights the "retribution " aspect of sentencing.

Australian justice follows a "retribution, restitution, rehabilitation " model.

People here clutching at air to find this person absolutely , criminally responsible for the outcome that left people dead.

There are a lack of details that could include medical reasons for the accident.....but it was a form of negligence in any event, and this must be distinguished from any criminal liablity.

Once again , Japan's Courts are more opaque than clear in determinations.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

3 years for 2 lives this must feel like some sort of disgusting joke for the family of the deceased..

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

How people can be so fixed in punishing that a clear example of circular thinking is not recognized.

The accused, witness and doctors say this is an accident and make arguments about it. The judge says it is negligence, because it is was not an accident, but offers no argument except not believing the arguments of the defense.

So the accused is guilty of negligence because the defense is lying, and the defense is lying because the accused is guilty, no witness contradicting the story, no doctor saying this is not a real possibility, the only reason not to believe the accused is because he must be guilty.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I could have been easily killed from a Japanese person that caused the accident, it’s a wonder I wasn’t. What about him ? All he did was a minimal payment of damages and nothing was done to him. Suspended sentence no doubt, if I had been.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

$1.2 million for two Japanese lives? Give me a break... the only thing Lt Alkonis is sorry about is that the Navy didn't put him on a Mil Air flight out of Japan before he was arrested by the Japanese Police. He is fortunate he only got 3 years and should thank his Mormon friends here in Japan for their influence on this as there is more behind the scenes to this story that what you are reading in this little article on JT. There are many sailors on Yokouska who know the whole story and the political support he is receiving has never happened to any enlisted member here.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

One will get no leniency from a Japanese judge if you are a foreigner.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

This is the most frightening part about living in Japan as a Gaijin ( worse if you are not a white Gaijin or from a developing country).

The system will decide long before a trial if you are guilty.

So the Judge without proof or medical degree decided he "feel a sleep" despite what his family said.

But if you are Japanese and beat your child, neglect your child, abuse your child resulting in the child's death, well you stand a better chance of receiving less jail time than this man.

And I have no problem in saying if he was black and not white I would have expected an even longer sentence.

This is just how things are in Japan and anyone saying it isn't is fooling themselves and ignoring news articles after news article.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

@AntiquesavingToday 03:00 pm JST

No, it's a contest between two versions.

Prosecutor: The guy just didn't get as much sleep as he claimed he had, and fell asleep at the wheel. Anything else is just him and his family BSing an excuse. He didn't even get high enough to get altitude sickness, not if he is of normal constitution anyway.

Defense: I'm of this very rare breed that not only gets mountain sickness on airliner air, but suffers from it so badly I will instant-conk when millions upon millions of people, including both the young and the elderly, are exposed to similar conditions every year without suffering ill effects. Somehow, I never noticed my weakness to airliner air through all my years growing up and having taken an airliner at least once in my life.

Yeah...

2 ( +9 / -7 )

@kazuaki shimazaki - thanks for your reply.

Funny how your comments are all totally based on your presumption of his guilt.

As if you're privy to details, evidence etc that others aren't. Do you know all the aspects of their travel that day? Do you know pertinent facts about his health condition?

I never mentioned innocence or guilt.

I stated some known facts - assuming the immediate witnesses, his wife and children - are not telling lies as you ascertained.

There is a lot more to this story than this article.

Please read more widely. There's lots of stuff out there.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki

Today 03:19 pm JST

To show how little the world trusts Japan's legal system.

Despite the big deal made recently regarding the 2 men extradited to Japan from the USA that was a very rare thing.

Even countries with extradition treaty with Japan more often than not refuse to extradite their citizens to Japan and the reason is always the same " they will not receive a fair trial based on discrimination"

Almost all extradition request that were approved were Japanese nationals being sent back to Japan.

This give you an idea what the world thinks of the Japanese legal system.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

After his three years, he will still have a life. His family will be there waiting for him.

The average term for vehicular manslaughter is five plus years.

According to Article 5 of the Act on Punishment of Acts Inflicting Death or Injury on Others by Driving a Motor Vehicle, etc., a person who fails to exercise the due care required in driving a motor vehicle and thereby causes the death or injury of another is subject to punishment by imprisonment with or without work for not more than 7 years or a fine of not more than ¥1,000,000.

Latter-day Saints so plenty of opportunities for prayer and reflection. Ridge Alkonis took a Bible and Book of Mormon with him when he reported to prison.

His family lives in California

https://www.deseret.com/faith/2022/7/28/23282800/the-startling-case-of-ridge-alkonis-japan-mormon-two-dead-justice-mike-lee-rahm-emanuel

Vehicular manslaughter in California is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or six years and a fine up to $10,000.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I won't guarantee that the Japanese system is not discriminatory. I will say this is one case that not only does not advance this line, but suggests that a big reason Gaijin get "discriminated" against is because of their own mis-steps.

In this case, Alkonis' family tried the "Japanese" tactic of pleading guilty, but like Griner in Russia, tried to fight the facts on a low probability variant. This suggests they see it as a tactic to get off lightly, rather than a true submission to the law and admission of fault.

They also seem to treat the Jidan as a cold, mechanical settlement - I pay you and I get off free. No it it is not.

These two combined together objectively suggests a clear lack of any repentance. Repentance is at the core of any chance a defendant has of getting off lightly, and is a quality Alkonis is not effectively demonstrating.

His sentence reflects that. I would assume the Japanese in your cases did not make that mistake. They at least successfully faked repentance.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

AntiquesavingToday 03:00 pm JST

This is the most frightening part about living in Japan as a Gaijin

Get over it, or get out

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Lot's of unclear details in this case and the terminology has to be consistent. Falling asleep and losing consciousness aren't necessarily the same thing. One is usually associated with fatigue and the other with a medical condition or external factors. There are sometimes medical conditions associated with fatigue as well such as sleep apnea. One doesn't suddenly fall into a deep sleep either. Usually people nod off for few seconds and wake up several times before completely falling asleep.

After an accident like this, he should've undergone a medical examination right after to determine if there were any physiological causes for what happened. What's his medical history? Any pre-existing conditions? If doesn't sound that there was so now it's a lot of hearsay and conjecture.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Get over it, or get out

Ah it is the don't like it leave, thing.

Yeah let's not hear or admit any problems, let's pretend everything is fine.

Anyone not happy leave!

Always the same thing, stick head in sand and repeat the next time.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Notice that:

information has been revealed that the son-in-law of one of the victims works at the same office that prosecuted Lt. Alkonis.

and

One of the victim’s daughters is an attorney who represented all of the victims and refused to accept any letters of apology by Lt. Alkonis as customary under Japanese law, which directly resulted in the dismissal of his appeal and request for a suspended sentence,

src: https://www.foxnews.com/us/navy-lieutenant-sentenced-japan-causes-outcry-family-lawmakers

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

I read it. PHF is a partisan organization whose stated purpose is not to be fair, but to defend servicemen. That aside, PHF is clearly making invalid claims:

One of the victim’s daughters is an attorney who represented all of the victims and refused to accept any letters of apology by Lt. Alkonis as customary under Japanese law, which directly resulted in the dismissal of his appeal and request for a suspended sentence,

Does PHF wish to contend that the victims are obliged to accept a letter of apology, and that letter of apology must play a role in reducing Alkonis' sentence?

PHF's writeup shows a clear problem with Americans - they think of these apologies not as genuine, but as tactics or transactions. I wrote a letter of apology, so you MUST accept it and you MUST reduce my sentence. They aren't repentant at all. They just want a trade.

information has been revealed that the son-in-law of one of the victims works at the same office that prosecuted Lt. Alkonis.

Oh, and what does the PHF believe should have happened if that wasn't the case. If the family moved the son-in-law to move the procuracy, it will be because they hadn't forgiven Alkonis, haven't reconciled with him. If that's so, why should he qualify for any advantages that require reconciliation?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I just found something interesting:

I felt my body get weak, and my car drifted out of the lane, but I was able to quickly correct it,” he said in court. Five minutes later, Alkonis said, he began to talk with one of his children when he “lost his memory,” and the crash ensued.

https://www.stripes.com/branches/navy/2021-08-24/navy-officer-fatal-crash-trial-yokosuka-naval-base-2654940.html

Oh, so you didn't conk out all of a sudden, just as all the Japanese believed. if you didn't make the call to pull over this moment, what happens afterwards is on your head.

The most important thing in this case isn't the exact reason he lost consciousness (whether he fell asleep from failure or blacked out from altitude sickness), but whether he had a fighting chance to avoid this incident. And here, Alkonis just admitted he did have a chance, and he didn't take it. That violated his duty of care.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I can find many breaches of the criminal justice standards:

Standard 3-1.7 Conflicts of Interest

Standard 3-1.12 Duty to Report and Respond to Prosecutorial Misconduct

Standard 3-3.4 Relationship With Victims and Witnesses

Standard 3-1.6 Improper Bias Prohibited 

But, again, "this is Japan! " justice doesn't follow international standards.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

*“I felt my body get weak, and my car drifted out of the lane, but I was able to quickly correct it,” he said in court. Five minutes later, Alkonis said, he began to talk with one of his children when he “lost his memory,” and the crash ensued.*

This statement actually enforces the altitude sickness argument.

Lt. Alkonis standpoint he had a total blackout right after feeling some sudden weakness, and came back to conscience after some time ignorant of whatever happened on that spam of time.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

How do people that are becoming ill or incapacitated know before the fact?

They don’t

Don’t talk nonsense about a duty of care...it’s meaningless when unconscious.

Also, being in Japan as a foreigner for a few years or as an ALT etc won’t expose you to Japanese culture.

Entering the culture via encounters with bureaucracy and powerful groupsand learning “how” the system really works, markedly increases the level of discrimination that is out there.

Yes, there are worse places in the world but those places are much better perceived than Japan is and the penchant for the hidden is Japan’s massive downside.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Did you copy that from https://www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice/standards/

The victims are free to use whoever they wish as their counsel. Re the procuracy, even that document only demands the prosecutor HIMSELF avoid Conflicts of Interest, not everyone who happens to be in his office (should we make many small offices with only pairs of Prosecutor + Assistant to avoid this problem?)

It's almost impossible to say there is prosecutorial misconduct because the decision to not prosecute is entirely discretionary.

And there is no sign bias (the document seems to be mostly considering racism, sexism ... etc) has any significant role to play in the current outcome. Alkonis just has a weak case and is unrepentant.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

@bokudaToday 06:21 pm JST

Lt. Alkonis standpoint he had a total blackout right after feeling some sudden weakness, and came back to conscience after some time ignorant of whatever happened on that spam of time.

His duty of care was to stop upon the bolded part. And according to him, it wasn't "right after" - he had FIVE MINUTES.

@kurisupisuToday 06:23 pm JST

Don’t talk nonsense about a duty of care...it’s meaningless when unconscious.

Yeah, if he indeed blacked out w/o warning. It was never a high probability proposition, and as you can see, he himself refuted it. He had a duty to stop when he was given the warning, before he goes deeper off the drink or fully unconscious. He didn't. That caused the death of two people.

I genuinely don't understand why you believe he deserved mercy.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Notice that:

> information has been revealed that the son-in-law of one of the victims works at the same office that prosecuted Lt. Alkonis.

> and

> One of the victim’s daughters is an attorney who represented all of the victims and refused to accept any letters of apology by Lt. Alkonis as customary under Japanese law, which directly resulted in the dismissal of his appeal and request for a suspended sentence,

> src: https://www.foxnews.com/us/navy-lieutenant-sentenced-japan-causes-outcry-family-lawmakers

I read the Fox News report and visited the site Pipe Hitter Foundation but found no actual links to show that. I also searched the net but found nothing.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

bokuda

Today 05:23 pm JST

Notice that:

> information has been revealed that the son-in-law of one of the victims works at the same office that prosecuted Lt. Alkonis

It doesn't matter, Japan is not a country of laws or justice.

A simple example is what you wrote above.

Even if the information is factual, if revealing it publicly causes "harm" to that person, then by some backwards thinking in Japan that is considered libel, yep telling the truth can get you charged with libel.

No other justice system would even consider hearing the case.

So the information you posted can only be said publicly in the USA or another country, any one reporting it here could end up being sued for libel even if true.

Japanese justice system backflips twist yourself in knots.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

@Redstorm

https://www.foxnews.com/us/navy-lieutenant-sentenced-japan-causes-outcry-family-lawmakers

scroll down to the last paragraph:

"domestic political interference is highly suspected—information has been revealed that the son-in-law of one of the victims works at the same office that prosecuted Lt. Alkonis."

"One of the victim’s daughters is an attorney who represented all of the victims and refused to accept any letters of apology by Lt. Alkonis as customary under Japanese law, which directly resulted in the dismissal of his appeal and request for a suspended sentence," it claimed.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

He got his verdict on July this year, from May 2021 to July 2022 he was in detention all those time. Now he is in prison for another three years, from time of his accident to 2025. He is in Japan custody just because traffic accident, including 26 days solitary confinement.

Japanese law / rule of law is a hostage taking law. At this stage of the proceedings, the he will be hostage with to regards to how much compensation the relatives of the victims should get. Because the hostage is an American, the relatives will expect substantially more.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

bokuda

@Redstorm

https://www.foxnews.com/us/navy-lieutenant-sentenced-japan-causes-outcry-family-lawmakers

scroll down to the last paragraph:

"domestic political interference is highly suspected—information has been revealed that the son-in-law of one of the victims works at the same office that prosecuted Lt. Alkonis."

"One of the victim’s daughters is an attorney who represented all of the victims and refused to accept any letters of apology by Lt. Alkonis as customary under Japanese law, which directly resulted in the dismissal of his appeal and request for a suspended sentence," it claimed.

Did you miss my post?

I read the Fox News report and visited the site Pipe Hitter Foundation but found no actual links to show that. I also searched the net but found nothing.

You just accepted the Fox News report. Not known for always publishing the True. I could not find anything on the Pipe Hitter Foundation site, which is a very biased site. I tried to find a link on the net to verify the statement. Nothing.

So other than the Fox News site can you provide any other links?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The US wants to seek resolution....so do the victims family. He should be lucky he only got 3 yrs. There was a similar case in the UK a few yrs ago, a US service mans wife ran down and killed a man because she was driving on the wrong side of the road. What did she do......she caught the earliest flight back to the US after claiming diplomatic immunity. That case is still ongoing. years later.

She was clearly at fault and should have been arrested and done her sentence by British courts.

This situation is completely different. It was an accident. No fault of the man driving. He was not negligent. It was just one of those unforeseen things that happens. He didn't run. He tried to help the family, I suppose in the Japanese way. He doesn't expect to be forgiven, but it was an accident, just with terrible outcomes.

If a judge was a family member, he should have recused himself from the case. As it is, an appeal for the case based on that alone should happen. Add in that the judge ignored expert, Japanese, doctor, testimony, and there are 2 grounds for appeal. Justice needs to be fair and blind or there is no justice.

Being American shouldn't matter. If the exact same thing happened with an average Japanese family (not politically connected), would he be sentenced to 3 yrs for this accident?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Yes, as others have said, UK wasn't so lucky when a young boy's American killer fled the country. I don't know how she can look at herself in the mirror. Advice: learn the drive on the correct side of the road.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"One will get no leniency from a Japanese judge if you are a foreigner."

3 years for acts leading to the death of 2 people seems very lenient.

On the other side, why should a judge, from any country, show leniency to someone for being a foreigner?

The judge's job is to follow the law and make sure the trial is conducted in a legal way.

"U.S. officials have been in touch with their Japanese counterparts to seek a resolution.."

U.S. officials tend to seek and not offer resolutions...

For example, https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220621/p2a/00m/0na/005000c

1 ( +4 / -3 )

There are some here that seem to hold the opinion that Mr Alkonis is blameworthy for his actions that caused death.

As a father driving his family it isn’t likely that he would have wished to not only put himself at risk but his family also.

As I have stated before becoming unconscious was not a deliberate or even a negligent act on Alkonis’s part.

And the accident occurred when Alkonis was unconscious.

The Japanese judgement is wrong.

Why does the Japanese system need to find blame where there is none?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Debating whether he should have or should not have decided to stop driving earlier because of feeling strange - no doubt due to altitude sickness complications - is moot because the judge declared that was not a probable cause of the accident.

The judge claimed he fell asleep.

The judge decided he was suddenly tired.

That is the judgement.

Many people think the judge's judgement is not based on factual data.

There is no proof he fell asleep as opposed to passing out.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@browny1Today 09:35 am JST

This finding is

1) Much more likely than the story Alkonis tried to tell, simply because of

a) the objective characteristics of Fuji's road network, which leaves a person of all but the worst health practically zero chance of suffering from mountain sickness

b) That unconsciousness isn't a usual symptom among people who suffer from mountain sickness.

c) Another reduction for sudden unconsciousness.

2) harmless error even in the adverse case because the key point in a negligence case is duty of care, and a person who had five minutes warning of a mental deviation sufficient to send him off his lane simply cannot be considered not-negligent for failing to stop, regardless of whether the cause is fatigue or hypoxia.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@kazuaki - thank you.

a couple of points;

a) the objective characteristics of Fuji's road network, which leaves a person of all but the worst health practically zero chance of suffering from mountain sickness

Are you intimate with the "objective characteristics" of the roads and their relationship to altitude sickness?

Are you intimate with the known causes of altitude sickness and it's accompanying variances of symptoms?

And again - as I understand the judges decision was not that the defendant had prior warning of impending sickness and failed to act, but that he was over-tired and fell asleep at the wheel.

That's the key point of my commentary. The judge decided he fell asleep.

First hand witnesses stated otherwise.

And in addition, as I understand, the defendant when taken into custody, was not given a medical examination which may (or may not) have brought some clarity to the case. Strange that anyone claiming to have had a medical episode - and supported by family members - was not examined.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they did do a full test and I just haven't read that report.

Either way - the bottom line is the judge judged that he fell asleep at the wheel contrary to witnesses observations and without confirmation from a what-should-have-been-mandatory-medical assessment.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@browny1

Are you intimate with the "objective characteristics" of the roads and their relationship to altitude sickness?

I have explained the roads in Aug. 17 12:53 pm JST:

I still hadn't seen a report that concretely states Alkonis' maximum altitude, or the time he stayed there. However in general terms, It's actually HARD to reach an altitude in a car where altitude sickness is a problem on Fuji. The state roads end at just over 2200m, and while it is possible to go on a bicycle to 2700m, that's on private roads where Alkonis should not have been driving on.

Re "altitude sickness", or "acute mountain sickness" as Alkonis claims:

Symptoms of altitude sickness usually develop between 6 and 24 hours after reaching altitudes more than 2,500m above sea level.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/altitude-sickness

Further, it is common knowledge that cabin pressure is usually 8000 feet, or 2400m

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabin_pressurization and also:

Currently, most airliners have cabin air pressure equivalent to that of an altitude of 8,000 feet. For the Dreamliner, Boeing cut that down to 6,000 feet.

https://www.businessinsider.com/boeing-787-dreamliner-777x-cabin-pressure-jetlag-2016-9

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@browny1Today 12:15 pm JST

Are you intimate with the known causes of altitude sickness and it's accompanying variances of symptoms?

I think it is sufficient to know that millions of fly passengers annually are evidence that the chance of it happening to Alkonis, to the extent he needs it to significantly change the verdict, are virtually zero. How many passengers every year complain that they fainted due to the aftereffects of airliner air? That divided by the number of passengers approximates the probability of that being Alkonis' story.

That's the key point of my commentary. The judge decided he fell asleep.

To be more precise, the prosecution peddled the idea that he fell asleep, and the judge decided it was MUCH more likely than the defendant's version. Considering the millions of airliner air breathers that don't faint every year, I can't see a strong case for their being "reasonable" doubt.

First hand witnesses stated otherwise.

Family members are only next to the defendant in the probability of them telling the truth in this situation. The expected probability of a defendant telling the truth is so low he's actually excused from having to do it in Japanese law even in theory.

Strange that anyone claiming to have had a medical episode - and supported by family members - was not examined.

There's no strangeness if we consider that it is far from clear from available information that Alkonis even started his medical episode story until later on (perhaps after receiving advice from legal counsel and the United States Navy). All we can be reasonably certain on is that this is the story he brought to court, which is not the same thing. Further, there's the "small" factor of the sheer improbability of his claim.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The more you guys conjecture about the case, the blurrier it gets.

We can agree that there is a reasonable doubt.

There's not enough certainty to convict the defendant.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Stop being an American apologist. There's no reasonable doubt at least based on the currently available facts. He killed two people, definite. He had warning and refused to take it, admitted. He either was fatigued and fell asleep or he took his family to a dangerous altitude - either would be neglect of his duty of care. His negligence conviction is a done deal at that point.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

We own some respect to Lt. Alkonis.

After 26 days of solitary confinement and forced interrogations he never gave up.

The prosecution had to made up a story from thin air and the judges had to make it roll up somehow.

Respects to you, lieutenant Alkonis.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

thin air

Ha, ha, ha.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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