National

Man who lost wife, daughter in car crash conducts petition drive seeking punishment for elderly driver

Kyodo

A man who lost his wife and daughter in a car crash in central Tokyo in April collected signatures in a park near the site of the accident on Saturday as part of a petition drive he organized calling for the 88-year-old driver responsible to be punished.

The 32-year-old man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he had already received around 50,000 signatures by mail, which he plans to submit to the Tokyo District Court after continuing his petition drive through late August.

“I believe having (the driver) face the punishment he deserves will lead to the prevention of similar accidents,” he said.

A car, driven by Kozo Iizuka, a former government official, plowed into pedestrians in the Ikebukuro district on April 19. In the accident, a 3-year-old girl and her mother were killed, and nine people were injured.

Iizuka, who was seen walking with a cane before the accident, claimed the brake did not work, though a police examination found no mechanical problems with the vehicle.

The police have been under fire for questioning Iizuka voluntarily without arresting him. The Metropolitan Police Department plans to send papers on the case to prosecutors.

The accident prompted renewed concern about elderly motorists amid the graying of Japan’s population.