• Kyodo

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The Chiba District Court on Wednesday ordered a 34-year-old man serving time in prison to pay around 300 million yen in compensation to relatives of another man he ran over in 2001 while intoxicated, putting him in a coma.

According to the court’s Sakura branch, Hiroaki Enomoto was driving a car under the influence of alcohol when he ran over Takehiro Nemoto in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, in October 2001, while Nemoto was standing in the road helping a friend maneuver his car.

Nemoto, 42, is still hospitalized and is being cared for by his parents and other family members. They were seeking around 420 million yen in damages from Enomoto, who has been serving time since he was sentenced to 28 months in prison in March 2005 for criminal negligence resulting in injuries.

Nemoto’s attorney said the driver was drunk and crossed into the opposing lane, while Enomoto’s counsel argued that Nemoto should bear some responsibility for the accident because he was on the road.

Judge Rika Mizoguchi acknowledged “severe negligence” on the part of Enomoto.

The case drew attention for what appeared to be a lax investigation by the Chiba Prefectural Police.

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