National / Crime & Legal

Ibaraki road-rage assault suspect referred to prosecutors

Kyodo

A 43-year-old man was referred to prosecutors Tuesday for allegedly punching a man after forcing him to pull over on an expressway in Ibaraki Prefecture in a road-rage incident that has captured national attention.

Fumio Miyazaki, a company executive from Osaka, has admitted to the assault, saying he became enraged after the victim’s car and his vehicle collided when they both pulled over, according to investigative sources.

He is suspected of repeatedly switching lanes and slowing down abruptly in front of the victim’s vehicle for several kilometers on the Joban Expressway in Moriya, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Aug. 10 before forcing the victim to pull over. He then punched the victim in the face through the victim’s car window.

Miyazaki told investigators he thought the victim had been driving too slowly and was blocking his own vehicle. He denied intent to drive recklessly.

The police, however, are building a case against Miyazaki for the way he drove, deeming that he engaged in dangerous driving.

The incident was captured by a dashboard camera on the victim’s car and was widely reported and shared online, along with footage of Miyazaki resisting arrest on a street in Osaka.

The police also referred Miyazaki’s girlfriend Natsuko Kimoto, 51, to prosecutors on the same day for allegedly hiding Miyazaki, who was placed on a wanted list last week, before he was arrested in Osaka on Sunday.

At the time of the road-rage incident, Miyazaki was driving a sport utility vehicle loaned by a car dealer in Yokohama, as his own car was being repaired.

Police have received reports of the same vehicle being driven in a similarly aggressive manner last month in Aichi and Shizuoka prefectures, and are investigating Miyazaki’s possible involvement.