Parents of accident victim sue state

Prosecutor's 'trivializing' of case leads to 5 million yen redress demand

The parents of a 13-year-old boy left in a vegetative state after being hit by a car in Osaka Prefecture in 1999 sued the state Tuesday, claiming compensation for the mental distress they say they have suffered as a result of a prosecutor’s trivializing of the case.

The parents of Tatsuya Urata are demanding 5 million yen over the conduct of an assistant public prosecutor at the Kishiwada branch of the Osaka District Public Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor allegedly refused to listen to their claims and failed to formally indict the female driver of the car that hit their son.

According to the suit, filed with the Osaka District Court, Tatsuya was riding a bicycle on a street in the Osaka city of Izumi in September 1999 when the car struck him.

Tatsuya’s parents repeatedly tried to tell the prosecutor in question that a police report on the scene of the accident did not feature the police’s own confirmation of a mark indicating that Tatsuya had applied the bicycle’s brakes.

But the prosecutor ignored them and ended up filing a summary indictment against the woman, who was eventually fined 400,000 yen.

Tatsuya’s parents claim the prosecutor’s response violates the spirit of the crime-victim protection law. The law, which took effect in November 2000, demands consideration for the feelings of crime victims and their families.

The couple also filed a request Tuesday with the Kishiwada Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution to file a formal indictment against the woman.

In a separate civil lawsuit against the female driver, the district court’s Kishiwada Branch ordered the defendant in July to pay 216 million yen to cover Tatsuya’s nursing care costs.