• Kyodo


Prosecutors demanded Wednesday a 13-year prison term for a Kobe man accused of setting fire to a Japan Highway Public Corp. office in Kawasaki, seriously injuring an employee.

Yoshio Rokusaido, 61, poured about a liter of gasoline from a plastic bottle around the reception area of the office and on the clothing of 38-year-old employee Mutsumi Tanaka at around 10:35 a.m. March 11, prosecutors told the Kawasaki branch of the Yokohama District Court.

He then used a cigarette lighter to ignite the blaze, the court was told during a session of Rokusaido’s trial.

Tanaka suffered burns over his entire body, prosecutors said.

Rokusaido had gone to the office to demand compensation for the severe damage his truck sustained in a 1979 accident inside a Tomei Expressway tunnel operated by the highway corporation, they said.

Rokusaido spread the gasoline after Tanaka and his colleague rejected his demands, they said.

In demanding the sentence, the prosecutors said Rokusaido should have sued the public corporation for damages instead of committing acts that can never be forgiven.

A ruling is set for July 31.

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