Procedures Begin to Jail Ex-Bureaucrat, 90, over Fatal Car Crash


Tokyo, Oct. 12 (Jiji Press)--Procedures started Tuesday to imprison a 90-year-old former senior Japanese government official convicted over a high-profile accident in Tokyo in 2019 in which his runaway car killed a woman and her daughter, and injured other people.

Summoned by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, Kozo Iizuka, former 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, entered the building where the prosecutors office is located in the afternoon. He was then confined to the Tokyo Detention House in Katsushika Ward of the Japanese capital.

In a statement released through a person related to him the same day, Iizuka said, "Looking at the evidence (submitted in my trial) and the court ruling, I realized that my car ran out of control because I mistakenly confused the brake with the accelerator due to my negligence." Iizuka, who had pleaded not guilty in his trial, admitted his fault for the first time.

"I deeply apologize" to the family of the two victims--Mana Matsunaga, 31, and her daughter, Riko, 3--and people who suffered injuries in the accident, he said, adding, "I will serve the sentence to reflect on my negligence." A prison for Iizuka will be decided after he undergoes a health checkup and takes other necessary procedures at the Tokyo Detention House.

Takuya Matsunaga, the 35-year-old husband of Mana, commented: "It's up to Iizuka if the day will come when he can pay for his crime in a true sense. Although he is set to be imprisoned, it is not that no more traffic accidents will happen. I sincerely wish that lives in the future will be protected."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press