National / Crime & Legal

Family of mother and daughter killed in Tokyo crash submit petition seeking driver's indictment

JIJI

Family members of a mother and daughter who were killed after being struck by a car driven by an 88-year-old man have submitted a petition to prosecutors seeking the driver’s indictment.

The petition, signed by about 390,000 people, was submitted to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday.

The high-profile incident occurred when Kozo Iizuka lost control of his vehicle in the busy Ikebukuro district of Tokyo on April 19.

The victims were Mana Matsunaga, 31, and her 3-year-old daughter, Riko.

Iizuka had served as head of the former Agency of Industrial Science and Technology under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

At a news conference on Friday, Mana Matsunaga’s 33-year-old husband, whose name has not been reported, voiced gratitude over the large number of signatures.

“I want to do all I can so that the thoughts of people who gave their signatures won’t go to waste,” he said.

He asked the police to accelerate the investigation into the incident.

“It would be helpful for me mentally if some outlook for the completion of the probe was seen.”

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is continuing its investigation, questioning Iizuka on a voluntary basis. During questioning, Iizuka claimed that problems with his vehicle caused it to go out of control. But he also referred to the possibility of mistakenly pressing the accelerator when he meant to hit the brake.

The police plan to send papers on the case to prosecutors for suspected negligent driving resulting in death and injury.

Yoshinori Uehara, Mana Matsunaga’s 62-year-old father, referring to the victims as his “beloved” daughter and granddaughter, voiced his gratitude to those who signed the petition.

“I’m filled with anger, but I have managed to live through today thanks to encouragement from across Japan,” he said.

The bereaved family launched the signature campaign on the streets and online, seeking Iizuka’s indictment and a tough penalty, believing that a severe punishment will help prevent repeats of such incidents.

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