“Three days after the accident, Mr. Sato called me and said, ‘Don’t worry. I’ve hired a lawyer, so I won’t get caught. He also told another person that he was going to flee to Myanmar. I guess he was aware that he had killed a man.
That’s what Mr. A, a subordinate of Tsuyoshi Sato, 44, a suspect in a fatal accident involving a pleasure boat on Lake Inawashiro in Aizuwakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture, told me.
On September 6, 2008, Eita Toyoda (8 years old at the time), who was playing in Lake Inawashiro, was caught in a large pleasure boat and killed. His mother, who was nearby, was severely injured when both of her legs were caught in the boat, resulting in amputation from the knees down.
“The investigation was difficult because it was an accident on the water and physical evidence was difficult to obtain. However, at the beginning of this year, a passenger provided a video of the incident, and on September 14, the Aizuwakamatsu Police arrested Sato on suspicion of manslaughter. Subsequent investigations revealed that Sato had been enjoying the cruise for an hour after the accident, and had kept quiet about it to his passengers,” said a reporter from a local newspaper.
(A reporter from a local newspaper) When this magazine conducted an interview, it became clear that Sato had been living a celebrity lifestyle for about a year before his arrest, without any sense of guilt. A male acquaintance of Sato said, “Sato lives in Kachidoki, Tokyo.
“He was living on the top floor of a tower in Kachidoki, Tokyo, and was going to a high-class club in Ginza the week after the accident. The frequency was the same as before the accident, three to four times a week. I think I spent about 500,000 yen a night. I had a favorite cabaret girl, and I let her ride with me on the boat on the day of the accident. I gave her my gold card and let her spend the money freely.
A local friend described Sato’s life of golfing and partying.
“About a week before his arrest, I played golf with him in Ibaraki Prefecture, but I didn’t notice anything unusual. 2-3 years ago, he played the prestigious Tokyo Classic Club course in Chiba Prefecture with Yuya Tegoshi, who was still a member of Johnny’s at the time. A month after the accident, they were playing together at another golf course.
He also likes baseball, and seems to have been close with Nakata (Sho, 32). They boasted about their two-shot photos, and Nakata even gave them a guest pass to visit the Japanese Ham camp. He posted a photo on his Instagram saying he had met Otani (Shohei, 27) behind the stands.
Whenever Sato met a celebrity, he would take a picture of them and share it with his friends. When I asked for an interview with Tekashi’s office, who said they were friends, I received the following response.
“I met him several times through an introduction by an acquaintance, but I had no idea about the accident.
The Yomiuri Giants, to which Nakata belongs, responded to our request for an interview as follows.
The Yomiuri Giants, the team to which Nakata belongs, responded to this magazine: “We have no idea where the photo was taken. I don’t even know his name, and I don’t have any relationship with him.
Manager Laughs at Employee’s Suicide
Normally, he was the representative director of Sato Goken (Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture), a company that deals with construction materials and receives orders from all over Japan. After the Great East Japan Earthquake, sales increased due to special reconstruction demand, and the company grew to 700 million yen in sales in the 19 years since it started. On the other hand, Mr. A, who has known Sato for 10 years, reveals his true nature, saying that this incident was bound to happen.
“Mr. Sato was often stopped by the police for speeding, but he would intimidatingly insist that he was not in violation.
Two years ago, at a construction site in Tochigi Prefecture, an employee was injured when his leg was caught in the sand while working, resulting in a one-year recovery. Two years ago, an employee got caught in his leg while working at a construction site in Tochigi Prefecture and was injured for a year. While everyone was frantically providing first aid, Mr. Sato, the president of the company, heard the report and burst out laughing, saying, “Oh no! (laughs)’ He burst out laughing.
The most distrustful moment came last June, when one of our employees committed suicide at a site in Niigata Prefecture. Mr. Sato laughed and said, ‘Oh, he’s dead! Hahaha~” and laughed at ……. To be honest, I was more convinced than surprised when I learned of the arrest.
Despite the fact that three people were killed or injured, Sato had been enjoying the life of a celebrity for a year. However, he may not be able to be charged with a felony in this accident. Fusahiro Matsumura, a lawyer who specializes in maritime accidents, said it would be difficult to increase the sentence in this case.
“There is no provision in the law regarding the navigation of ships to charge hit-and-run in the case of automobiles. In this case, “manslaughter” is applicable, but a sentence of about two years and six months in prison is considered appropriate. It is possible to increase the severity of the crime by applying the crime of abandonment of a responsible person, but it is up to the discretion of the prosecutor.
Eidai’s mother was discharged from the hospital in April this year after undergoing seven surgeries on her leg. She began to live with artificial legs, which she was not used to. In response to the suspect’s arrest, his mother left this comment.
“On the one hand, I am very happy, but on the other hand, I am deeply saddened that Eidai will not come back to us. I still feel the same way, as long as Eidai comes back.”
While she is relieved that the culprit has been identified, the heartbreak of having her son’s life taken in front of her eyes will never heal.
I can only hope that the full story of the accident will be revealed.
From “FRIDAY” October 8, 2021 issue
PHOTO： Takao Kawakami, Kyodo News, Asahi Shimbun