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A 41-year-old man who was punched by a passenger as he was getting off a train at a Tokyo station earlier this month remains in a coma and his assailant is still at large, much to the anger of the victim’s family.

Katsuhiro Kobayashi, an employee of the temporary employment agency ITN Service, was on his way home from work when he was punched in the face by another man as he was getting off a Yamanote Line train at JR Nippori Station shortly after 7 a.m. Nov. 9, according to police.

The other man, who was trying to get on the train as Kobayashi was getting off, was apparently miffed because they bumped into each other.

Kobayashi’s head struck the platform when he went down. Although he was initially conscious and reportedly managed to walk to the station master’s office with help, his condition deteriorated while he was being transported to a hospital and he has been in a coma ever since, diagnosed with a brain contusion and subdural hemorrhaging.

Doctors have told his family that if he lives, he will be left with major disabilities.

Kobayashi’s family said they are grieved and angry that such a minor incident could destroy someone’s life.

The assailant, whom witnesses described as being between 40 and 50 years old and about 165 cm tall, was with two other men at the time. It seems that his ire was provoked when Kobayashi did not wait for him to get on the train before he got off, according to police.

“It’s common sense that someone getting off a train has priority,” said Kobayashi’s 45-year-old brother, Hiroshi. “Why did my brother, who was only doing what was natural, have to get hit?”

Kobayashi, a resident of Arakawa Ward, had been working at the agency for about 18 months and had been assigned to train new employees. His 70-year-old mother, Teruko, was pleased to learn her son had been working in an amicable environment.

The brother described Kobayashi, who is 180 cm tall and weighs some 100 kg, as “the silent, mild-mannered type who would never have been the one to start an argument.”

The brother currently takes afternoons off work from his job as a sales clerk at a shop in JR Tokyo Station to relieve his mother and sister in caring for Kobayashi at the hospital.

He said that what befell his brother is especially shocking for him because he witnessed the fatal stabbing of a convenience store manager at Tokyo Station in July. The victim had tried to catch a shoplifter.

“I never thought that my brother would also be a victim of an attack at a train station,” the brother said.

“He’s never going to come back to us in the way that he used to be, and yet the man who did this is still living a normal life somewhere. How could anyone tell us to accept this as being fair?”

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