• Kyodo

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The Yokohama Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution has decided that two Kanagawa Prefectural Police officers should not have left a man hurt in a car accident in Yokohama in 1997 to die, according to sources close to the case.

The committee has ruled that leaving the victim was an inappropriate act, adding that the prosecutors’ decision not to indict the officers was unjustified, the sources said.

“We made an arrangement on Friday to relaunch an investigation into the case,” said Kazuhiro Suzuki, deputy chief of the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office.

Kanagawa police have maintained that the victim, Mikio Kubo, then 54, died of an illness, saying their officers were not responsible for his death.

An interim report submitted by expert medical witnesses, however, concluded that the organs produced in a civil lawsuit by medical examiners who performed an autopsy on the victim were not the victim’s.

Kubo’s relatives have alleged the police were involved in a coverup and have called for a new investigation into the case.

According to the complaint filed by the relatives, two Kanagawa police officers found Kubo incapacitated inside a car near an intersection in Yokohama’s Hodogaya Ward in July 1997.

The officers left the scene after moving the car to the roadside. Kubo was later found dead in the car, the complaint says.

After factoring in the cracks in the car’s windshield, the damage to a tire and the fact that Kubo was unconscious when he was found, the inquest concluded that Kubo had apparently been struck hard on the head and that the officers should have helped him.

The committee also criticized the Yokohama prosecutors’ office for maintaining its decision not to indict even after Kubo’s relatives filed a complaint with the committee following the release of the damaging medical report.

Kubo’s family filed a criminal complaint against the officers and medical examiners who performed the autopsy in September 1998.

The prosecutors’ office dismissed the complaint in February 2000 and refused to indict any of the people identified in the case, prompting the relatives to file a damages suit against the medical examiners and other parties involved the same year.

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