November 25th. On the 25th local time, the Tokyo High Court of Japan ruled that the 88-year-old Kiyoshi Kawabata was imprisoned for 3 years due to negligent driving causing death and injury. He was found not guilty in the first instance, but in the second instance he “hoped to use the rest of his life to atone for the crime” and asked the court to convict him.
According to a report by the Japan Jiji News Agency on the 25th, Kawabata’s defense lawyer stated in the trial that “the defendant is very old and hopes to use the rest of his life to atone for the crime and request the court to convict him.”
The trial judge Hiroko Kondo pointed out in the verdict that “the defendant knew he was suffering from low blood pressure and would temporarily lose consciousness, and insisted on driving after repeated persuasion by his family, which caused a tragedy that could have been avoided.”
In January 2018, Kawabata lost consciousness while driving in Maebashi City, Saitama Prefecture, and hit two female high school students who were riding bicycles, resulting in one death and one serious injury.
In the first-instance judgment in March this year, the Maebashi District Court ruled that Kawabata was not guilty, thinking that he could not foresee that he would lose consciousness due to hypotension.
The prosecution subsequently filed an appeal. The defendant’s family also believed that the acquittal was “sorry to the families of the dead and injured”, so they changed their lawyers and, after obtaining Kawabata’s consent, voluntarily demanded a guilty verdict.