• Kyodo


A 75-year-old man was given a six-year prison term Friday over a 2015 car accident in which he struck and killed two people and injured four others on a sidewalk in the city of Miyazaki.

The Miyazaki District Court found Mitsugi Kawauchi guilty of negligent driving leading to injury or death, but questioned the prosecution’s assertion that was having an epileptic seizure when he lost control of his mini-vehicle.

The focal point of his trial was whether he was having an epileptic seizure or dementia symptoms at the time. If the court ruled it was epilepsy, he could have faced harsher punishment.

“It is questionable that the defendant was impacted by an epileptic seizure because the explanation by a doctor who assessed him is not convincing,” presiding Judge Tadayuki Okazaki said.

Prosecutors demanded a seven-year term, saying Kawauchi must have been aware he was a risky driver as he was diagnosed with suspected epilepsy.

Medicine can be used to stabilize epilepsy and reduce driving-related risks.

The defense team sought a suspended term, arguing he “possibly had symptoms of dementia rather than epilepsy.”

Kawauchi was driving from his home in Hioki, Kagoshima Prefecture, to Miyazaki on Oct. 28, 2015, when struck the pedestrians.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.