On September 6, 2008, Eita Toyoda, then 8 years old, was killed when his family was caught in a large pleasure boat sailing on Lake Inawashiro (Fukushima Prefecture). His mother, who was nearby, suffered serious injuries, including amputation of both legs from the knees down.
The defendant, Tsuyoshi Sato, 45, a former company executive in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, who was piloting the boat, pleaded not guilty, saying that he had fulfilled his duty of care, but the Fukushima District Court sentenced him to two years in prison. Some people say, “He was only sentenced to two years in prison after causing such a serious accident,” but that is the maximum sentence possible under current law.
Mr. Toyoda and his family now live in a quiet residential area in the Tokyo metropolitan area. About two and a half years after the accident, Eita’s parents opened their heavy mouths and revealed to this magazine what happened on the day of the accident.
I watched the boat run over Eidai right in front of me. After the boat left, there were severed body parts and what looked like organs floating on the surface of the water…. I could clearly see the cross section of the body and knew that my son had died in an instant. At the moment he was hit, I myself felt a pain like an electric shock throughout my body, and my right leg suddenly became heavy. When I touched it, I found that it was almost severed, and the leg that had been cut off was being shaken by a plunge and a stream of water, which made me feel sick. I could hear Eita’s body in front of me and the cries of my eldest son, who was nearby, mixed in with the sound of the waves… In my foggy consciousness, I was desperately trying to hold on to my leg to keep it from sinking to the bottom of the lake” (Eita’s mother).
Mr. Toyoda and his family had come to Lake Inawashiro with friends and family, and were taking turns riding their water bikes out to sea. Eita’s father, who was a short distance away at the time of the accident, noticed that the mother and child had been run over and immediately went to the rescue.
He said, “There were a few other families around the accident site, and some of them saw Eidai’s body parts being blown off with a pop. I hurried back to the scene, which was a short distance away, but I could see from a distance that my wife’s face had turned very pale as she floated on the water. As I pulled my wife up onto the water bike, I saw a section of her leg, connected only by 1 to 2 mm of skin. The severed leg was already pale, as if it had bled out. The other leg was also shredded by deep cuts. My wife was bleeding heavily, her breathing was shallow, and she was very weak.
His mother was immediately hospitalized after being transported to a hospital in Fukushima Prefecture. A large amount of bacteria had entered her body through the amputated surface, increasing the risk of infection. The doctor in charge performed seven surgeries in an attempt to keep her leg, but she eventually had to live with both prosthetic legs. after a year of getting used to her prosthetic legs, on September 14, 2009, the Aizu Wakamatsu police arrested Tsuyoshi Sato on suspicion of professional negligence and death.
Eida’s mother said, “I had been aware of Sato’s lifestyle since about the end of ’20. What surprised us was that he continued to lead the same kind of lifestyle after the accident and was posting about it on Instagram.
The Toyotas saw Sato enjoying boating and dining at a fancy restaurant.
After Sato was released on bail at the end of December ’21, he continued to post on his Instagram account. I watched it because of the trial, and there I saw Sato …… with his luxurious life uploaded day after day and the fun he was having playing with women. There were also scenes of him being taken on a boat by someone he knew and watching fireworks.”
The family also felt disbelief at the difference between Sato’s words during the trial and the lifestyle he posted on social networking sites.
During questioning of the accused, I read out a profile statement to Sato and confirmed that this was his account, and he admitted it. During the trial, he told us that he was living a meager life with a monthly allowance of 130,000 yen from his parents, but on Instagram he reported that he had ordered a Lexus and other luxury cars. It makes me angry that he should stop making fun of people” (Eidai’s father, mentioned above).
In addition, Sato’s attitude during the trial, which began at the end of December ’21, was also said to be difficult to understand.
He kept grinning at me. Once, Sato’s lawyer reprimanded him, saying, ‘Why are you smiling? Once, Sato’s lawyer reprimanded him, saying, “Why are you smiling? He made only one formal apology at the first trial, and then he didn’t even look at us. He never said he was sorry to us, It is hard to believe that he felt sorry or remorse for us.
The day before the witness interview, Sato ate yakitori at a fancy restaurant with the witness and posted it on SNS. The day after the witness interview, he and the witness went golfing in the morning. The witness who was with him also posted on Instagram at the end of the trial, “Mission accomplished! on Instagram at the end of the trial, and I was already a mess, including the way the people around me handled the situation. I was beyond angry and disgusted. I lost my child, my wife lost her leg. I am tormented by a sense of emptiness, wondering who the hell we are fighting against.
Sato immediately appealed his sentence of two years imprisonment. On the other hand, Eita’s family has continued to visit his grave on the monthly anniversary of his death without fail since the day of the accident. Will there ever be a day when their hearts will be cleared? The bereaved family’s heart remains submerged at the bottom of Lake Inawashiro.