Man, 90, Gets 5 Years for Fatal Tokyo Runaway Car Crash


Tokyo, Sept. 2 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo District Court on Thursday sentenced a 90-year-old former senior Japanese government official to five years in prison without suspension for a high-profile fatal runaway car accident in Tokyo in 2019.

Kozo Iizuka, who was head of the now-defunct Agency of Industrial Science and Technology under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, was ruled guilty of negligent driving resulting in death and injury. Public prosecutors had sought a prison term of seven years for Iizuka.

According to the ruling, Iizuka mistakenly pressed the gas pedal for the brake while he was driving in the busy Ikebukuro district in Tokyo's Toshima Ward on April 19, 2019, causing his car to accelerate to a speed of 96 kilometers per hour.

His car ran a red light and hurtled into a crosswalk, fatally hitting Mana Matsunaga, 31, and her 3-year-old daughter, Riko. Nine other people were injured in the accident.

Iizuka's negligence was "serious," Presiding Judge Kenji Shimotsu said, adding that it cannot be said the accused is showing a feeling of remorse. Shimotsu concluded that the accident occurred as Iizuka hit the gas instead of the brake by mistake.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press