• Kyodo


A report submitted by a court-commissioned expert to a trial session Friday suggests that a Yokohama medical examiner who claims to have performed an autopsy on a man who died in 1997 may be lying.

According to the report put together by Shigemi Oshida, a professor of forensic medicine at Nihon University, DNA analysis indicates that samples of human organs preserved by the 71-year-old medical examiner are not those of Mikio Kubo, a self-employed Yokohama man who died in July 1997 after he was found slumped inside his car.

Oshida’s report was submitted to a session of a civil trial in which Kubo’s family is suing the Kanagawa Prefectural Government for damages over his death.

The family said the same day that they will ask the court to summon the medical examiner as a witness and will also file a criminal complaint against him.

In the early hours of July 19, 1997, two patrol officers found Kubo slumped inside a stationary car in the middle of a road in Hodogaya Ward, Yokohama.

Believing that he was merely asleep, the officers moved the car to the roadside and left the scene. When Kubo was admitted to a hospital later in the day, he was found to have died.

According to the Kanagawa Prefectural Police, an autopsy showed that Kubo died of heart failure.

His family charged, however, that he had been involved in a traffic accident and had died as a result of the police officers’ failure to tend to his needs.

The family is also claiming that, in an attempt to conceal the real cause of Kubo’s death, the medical examiner failed to perform an autopsy and wrote a false report to corroborate the police’s story.

Responding to a complaint by Kubo’s relatives, prosecutors investigated the case in February 2000. No criminal action was taken against the examiner, the two officers or a Hodogaya Police detective who is said to have overseen the autopsy.

The family was not satisfied with this conclusion and is now suing the prefectural government for compensation.

The Yokohama District Court commissioned Oshida with scrutinizing what the medical examiner says are the internal organs of Kubo, preserved in the wake of the autopsy.

In his interim report, Oshida said a DNA comparison of the organs and blood samples given by Kubo’s son suggested no evidence of a father-son relationship, the sources said.

Kubo’s 57-year-old wife, Sakiko, on Friday said, “I want the prosecutors to launch a further investigation into the case.”

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