• Kyodo

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The Asahikawa District Court handed down a suspended 14-month prison term Monday to a man who tried to ram a motorcade carrying Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in Hokkaido in July.

Osamu Koizumi, 35, driving a minicar, tried to ram the Imperial Couple’s car from behind on a national route in Furano but was prevented from doing so by a police motorcycle escort.

The motorcycle was knocked over and hit the Imperial couple’s car, slightly damaging it. The Emperor and Empress were unharmed.

Koizumi, whose sentence was suspended for four years, was charged with obstructing police. He claimed diminished responsibility at the trial, saying he was mentally unstable due to overwork at the time of the incident.

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