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Politician Sentenced for Motorcycle Death

Date Posted: 2000-12-29

Naha District Court has finally handed down a verdict in a traffic accident case that took place in May 1998, in which a high school boy riding on the back of a motorcycle with a friend was killed. The driver of the car, an Urasoe City Assembly Member, Shinko Matayoshi, 46, was legally drunk at the time of the accident. He also left the scene without stopping.

Although police questioned Matayoshi immediately after the accident, he was never indicted by the prosecutors. Although he admitted that he had been drinking and that he had left the scene without stopping, he claimed that the motorcycle had been speeding at over 100 km/h and it had been impossible for him to notice that the motorcycle had approached the intersection where the accident happened.

However, the father of the dead boy did not accept Matayoshi’s claim and launched his own investigation. He was able to prove that the speed of the motorcycle had been 61 km/h at most, and not over 100 km/h as the police report on the accident stated. The other boy on the motorcycle, who had been driving, claimed all along that Matayoshi should have had plenty of time to notice the approaching motorcycle. He also denied the speeding.

In its ruling the court ordered the police report to be changed to reflect the fact that the speed of the motorcycle had been no more than 61 km/h. The court also sentenced Matayoshi to two years’ prison, suspended for three years.

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