• Kyodo


A 33-year-old Tokyo man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly signing a speeding ticket in January in the name of the owner of a driver’s license he happened to pick up in January 1996, police said.

Highway police did not think anything was wrong at the time, because by coincidence, the suspect and the license’s real bearer looked strikingly alike, investigators said.

Arrested was Masashi Ito of the city of Ome, western Tokyo, according to police in Shizuoka Prefecture. Ito was held on suspicion of breaking traffic laws by driving without a license and of forging documents.

Police said that Ito was driving a small truck along the Tomei Expressway in Shizuoka Prefecture in the late afternoon of Jan. 15, 1996 when he was caught going at 103 km per hour. The legal speed limit was 80 km per hour.

Highway police stopped him, looked at the driver’s license he presented and had him sign a speeding ticket on the spot. Although Ito looked a bit more plump than in the photo on the ID, he explained to the officer that he’d gotten fat since the photo was taken.

Police realized that Ito was not the real owner of the license after they contacted the person whose name was on the ticket — a man residing in the city of Fujieda in the prefecture — when the fine was not paid. Authorities had since been looking for Ito.

Although the statute of limitations on driving without a license and falsifying documents are three years and five years, respectively, the statute had been suspended as Ito had been abroad between September 1996 and last October, police said.

The suspect was quoted as telling police that while he had gone to driving school, he had never actually gotten a license. He added that he found the driver’s license in question in 1995, investigators added.

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