By RYO SASAKI/ Staff Writer
October 2, 2020 at 18:45 JST
Ibaraki prefectural police re-enact the road rage incident involving Fumio Miyazaki on the Joban Expressway in August 2019. (Kaede Sano)
MITO--The company executive who became the subject of a nationwide manhunt after video of his road rage incident and attack on another driver went viral was convicted of his crimes on Oct. 2 but won't be going to jail.
The Mito District Court found Fumio Miyazaki, 44, guilty of compulsion and causing bodily injury and gave him a prison sentence of two years and six months, suspended for four years on condition he be placed on probation.
Miyazaki was involved in a series of road rage incidents between July and August 2019 that occurred in Ibaraki, Shizuoka and Aichi prefectures.
The incidents took place on the Tomei, Shin-Tomei and Joban expressways.
Miyazaki was indicted for causing bodily injury in the Joban Expressway incident that occurred near Moriya, Ibaraki Prefecture, because he punched the 25-year-old driver in the face, resulting in an injury that required a week of treatment.
The driver was forced to stop after Miyazaki maneuvered his vehicle in front of his car to block it.
Because Miyazaki admitted to all the charges at his first court hearing, the trial focused on the punishment.
Defense lawyers argued that a suspended sentence was appropriate so their client could receive medical treatment. A psychological assessment before the indictment found that Miyazaki suffered from a personality disorder that led him to feel that others wanted to do him in.
The incident on the Joban Expressway gained national attention because a dashboard camera captured Miyazaki driving recklessly and punching the young driver in the face. The video was repeatedly shown on TV and other media.
The 52-year-old woman who was in the car with Miyazaki during the Joban Expressway incident and recorded the assault on her mobile phone received a summary order to pay a 300,000 yen ($2,850) fine for harboring the criminal.
At the time Miyazaki committed his crimes, there were no legal provisions against reckless driving.
Miyazaki’s case and the 2017 incident on the Tomei Expressway that left two parents dead and their two children injured led to calls for tougher penalties against reckless driving. Revisions went into effect from June 2020 that established reckless driving as a new crime punishable by up to five years imprisonment or a maximum fine of 1 million yen.
The law on dangerous driving resulting in injury or death was also revised to include cases of driving that interfered with other cars by, for example, stopping suddenly in front of the other vehicle. The maximum penalty is imprisonment of 20 years.
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