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Never get out of car, open windows in road-rage incidents: Japanese experts

Fumio Miyazaki, the suspect in a widely publicized road-rage incident on the Joban Expressway, is seen detained by police investigators in the western Japan city of Osaka on Aug. 18, 2019. (Photo taken from a video image provided by a nearby resident)

TOKYO -- Amid a recent high profile road-rage incident in Japan, experts are advising drivers involved in such trouble to never open the doors or windows of their vehicles and immediately contact the police.

The advice comes as the case of a 43-year-old man, who had been on a wanted list on suspicion of punching a man after forcing him to pull over on the Joban Expressway in the eastern Japan prefecture of Ibaraki, has drawn nationwide attention.

"Drivers tend to get excited because they are inside cars that are protected, and end up taking bold actions," Takeo Mori, professor emeritus of criminal psychology at Senshu University, pointed out. "In that sense, anybody could be the target of a road-rage incident."

Kazumi Renge, president of Tezukayama University and professor of traffic psychology, advises drivers to stop their cars at safe places when they face such incidents and call the police.

"It's important to stop at the nearest parking area if you face such an incident while driving on an expressway. If you are driving on a regular road, stop at a gas station or a place where there are some people and alert the police," said Renge.

In the latest incident, the victim was forced to stop on the Joban Expressway after the suspect, Fumio Miyazaki, blocked the victim's car.

"It's extremely dangerous to stop on an expressway. If you are forced to do so, you should stop on the shoulder as far away from the road and contact the police immediately. No matter what the assailant says to you, never open the windows or get out of the car," Renge said. "The important thing is to ignore them."

The victim's car in the latest incident was equipped with a dash cam, which filmed the assault.

"Even if you don't have such a device, it's important to take note of the assailant's license plate number and, if possible, take footage to secure evidence of the incident," said Renge.

(Japanese original by Taiji Mukohata, Special Reports Department, and Kenji Tatsumi, City News Department)

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