Eidai’s parents tearfully told us, “Eidai has resigned as president of the company, so he doesn’t work publicly now. However, since he is the former president of the company, he sometimes goes to the construction site. He seems to be thinking a lot about how to proceed with the lawsuit, such as consulting with his wife about the trial.
A male relative of the defendant, Tsuyoshi Sato, 44, said, ”He is thinking a lot about how to proceed with the lawsuit. In September 2008, Eita Toyoda, then 8, was playing on Lake Inawashiro in Fukushima Prefecture when he was caught in a pleasure boat and killed, and his mother was seriously injured, having both legs amputated. Sato, the president of a civil engineering company, is charged with manslaughter in the accident. The trial for this accident is currently in turmoil.
The first trial was held at the Fukushima District Court on December 27, 2011. Since his arrest, Sato had consistently denied the charges, saying he had no recollection of the incident, but at the trial he made a complete about-face and admitted to the accident. A reporter for a national newspaper said.
Sato apologized to the bereaved family, saying, “I admit that I took a precious life and caused serious injuries. However, he denied his own negligence, saying that he ‘did not see the victim’ at the time of the accident. However, more than three months have passed since then, and the next date for the trial has yet to be set.
We asked Sato’s lawyer why the next date for the trial has not been set. We interviewed Sato’s lawyer.
We are working with the court and the prosecutor to sort out the issues,” he said. We have frequent consultations, and I myself have asked for the trial date to be moved up. However, since this is a unique maritime accident case, it is taking a long time.
Yoji Ochiai, a former prosecutor in the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and a lawyer, said, “Normally, there is a gap between deadlines.
If more than three months have passed and the next date has not yet been set, it means that a lot of time has passed. It is possible that the court has certain doubts about the prosecution’s proof.”
Accidents on the water are more difficult to prove than accidents on the road. This is because traces of evidence, such as bloodstains, are washed away by the water. If the prosecution has difficulty in proving its case, it is highly likely that Sato’s claims will be accepted.
In the meantime, there has been a move in a different part of the trial. The victim is demanding the payment of 6 million yen to Sato. Sato’s lawyer said, “The victim is demanding the payment of 6 million yen.
The victim has asked for the actual cost of medical treatment. However, this is not a settlement, but only the cost of medical treatment.
Normally, compensation for an accident consists of medical expenses and compensation. The amount of the compensation will depend on whether or not Sato’s negligence is recognized at a future trial. Therefore, it is believed that the victim claimed the medical expenses portion first. However, Sato has not yet paid this money, according to the victim’s lawyer. The victim’s lawyer said.
The victim’s lawyer said, “The other party has told us that they will pay the medical expenses in installments, but as of this moment, they have not paid us a single yen. This was one or two months ago, but there has been no progress at all. Since the trial is not progressing and the money is also in such a situation, the bereaved family members are anxious.
The aforementioned relative said, “Tsuyoshi said, ‘If I pay 6 million yen for this, it will be like admitting that I did it. Although Sato admitted the fact of the accident at trial through the strategy of his lawyer, he really feels strongly that he did not do it. For these reasons, he is believed to be reluctant to pay.
On the other hand, Sato has also been active, filing a lawsuit against Kyodo News and Fukushima Minpo by March 22. The reporter mentioned above said, “Kyodo News has been distributing the news.
The article was about an article that Kyodo News had distributed and Fukushima Minpo had published. The article reported that a video taken on the day of the accident recorded the defendant’s panicked voice saying, ‘Oh no,’ and that Sato had told the passenger not to talk about it. In response, Sato is seeking a total of 33 million yen in damages, claiming that these facts are untrue.
From the victims’ point of view, it would appear that they are just obsessed with suing the media, not paying any money to them. The victim’s lawyer responded, “We have no comment on this matter.
Where in the world is this trial headed? Mr. Ochiai, the aforementioned lawyer, said, “In the case of this accident, it would take two years of imprisonment.
In the case of this accident, we can expect a sentence of two and a half to three years in prison, with a three- to four-year suspended sentence,” said Ochiai. However, if Sato is found to have been unable to recognize the victim floating on the water, there is a strong possibility that he will be acquitted.
Will the family of the victim be satisfied with the outcome?
The case is still in the process of being resolved.
From the April 22, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Kyodo News Afro