Procedures underway to imprison ex-bureaucrat over fatal car crash in Tokyo

Japan Times -- Oct 14
Procedures started Tuesday to imprison a 90-year-old former senior government official convicted over a high-profile accident in Tokyo in 2019 in which his runaway car killed a woman and her young daughter and injured other people.

After being summoned by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office, Kozo Iizuka, former head of the now-defunct Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, was taken to the Tokyo Detention House in Katsushika Ward.

On Sept. 2, the Tokyo District Court sentenced Iizuka to five years in prison, without suspension, for negligent driving resulting in death and injury. The ruling became final on Sept. 17 as neither the defense nor the prosecution filed an appeal.

In a statement released through a supporter Tuesday, 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.” It was the first time that Iizuka, who pleaded not guilty in his trial, had admitted fault.

“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.”