The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has sent files to prosecutors on a former senior bureaucrat, related to suspicion of negligent driving resulting in deaths and injuries. The 88-year-old man was involved in a fatal car accident in April.
Kozo Iizuka drove his passenger car through pedestrian crossings in the Ikebukuro district, hitting 31-year-old Mana Matsunaga and her three-year-old daughter Riko who were riding on a bicycle. The two were killed and 10 others including the driver were injured.
Tokyo police examined the car and found no mechanical problems that could have led to the accident.
Based on the car's dash-cam recording, police believe the driver stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake.
Investigators have quoted the driver as saying that he was in a panic so he may have mistaken the gas pedal for the brake. Police say they cannot reveal whether he has admitted to the charges.
To prevent similar accidents involving elderly drivers, the central government is considering introducing a licensing system that will only allow them to drive vehicles with automatic brakes and other safety functions.
The Tokyo metropolitan government has introduced a program to provide drivers aged 70 or older with subsidies to cover most of the cost to install a device designed to stop unintended acceleration.
The number of older people who turn in their driver's licenses has been on the rise. In Tokyo, about 53,700 people surrendered their licenses from January through October this year, topping the all-time high of about 46,300 for the entire year of 2017.