Justice Minister Masahiko Komura on Wednesday ordered a fall deadline for the preparation of legislation to revise the Penal Code. The bill would impose tougher penalties on reckless and drunken drivers who have inflicted severe or fatal injuries on other people.

Komura told a news conference Wednesday he will refer the matter to the Legislative Council of the Ministry of Justice in June, with the goal of submitting the bill to an extraordinary Diet session that may be convened in the fall.

The move responds to strong demand from those injured in traffic accidents and the families of those killed on the roads, who consider the current penalties against professional negligence resulting in injury or death too light for the reckless drivers who have caused such accidents.

More than 260,000 signatures demanding harsher penalties have been collected nationwide and submitted to the ministry, prompting Komura to accelerate efforts to introduce the legislation. The amendments had initially been expected to be prepared for the next ordinary Diet session, to be convened early next year.

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