Ishiba in fender-bender en route to crash-apology site

by Reiji Yoshida

Just as Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba headed Thursday afternoon for the hometown of the fishermen missing since their boat was run over by a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer, his official car collided with a vehicle being driven by a 30-year-old woman in Katsuura, Chiba Prefecture, police said.

Nobody was injured in the car accident, which took place around 3:35 p.m. — right before Ishiba was to arrive at the local fisheries association to offer an apology over the ship collision, they said.

Both cars’ bumpers were damaged. Police said the accident took place as Ishiba’s car was turning right and the woman’s vehicle was going straight in an intersection.

Ishiba’s driver, a 30-year-old Self-Defense Forces member, bears the burden of fault because a car going straight generally has right of way in an intersection, police said.

Ishiba’s car was about 2 km to the fisheries association when the accident took place.

It delayed his meeting with local fishermen by around 15 minutes, Defense Ministry officials said.