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10-yr sentence sought for Porsche-driving doctor accused in Japan road rage death

The Kobe District Court is seen in this file photo taken in this western Japan city's Chuo Ward. (Mainichi/Yusuke Komatsu)

KOBE -- A doctor is facing a possible 10 years behind bars for allegedly racing his Porsche down a Japanese expressway at more than 200 kilometers per hour without a driver's license and smashing the German sportscar into the back of a truck, killing the driver.

Prosecutors made the sentencing demand at a Jan. 22 hearing at the Kobe District Court, where 51-year-old Hideya Kubota is standing trial on charges of dangerous driving causing death in the Nov. 25, 2018 incident. The prosecution claimed during the lay judge trial that Kubota lost his temper when he was passed by a BMW, and drove so close to the other car at such high speeds that he could not control his vehicle, leading to the accident.

Defense lawyers asked that Kubota be given a suspended prison sentence, claiming that his actions did not constitute dangerous driving. They furthermore argued that the accident was a result of simple negligence, as he failed to pay close attention to the road while operating his car navigation system.

According to the indictment, Kubota drove his Porsche at about 216 kph eastbound on the Hanshin Expressway's Kobe route in the Hyogo Prefecture city of Amagasaki. He then allegedly rear-ended a truck, leaving the 70-year-old truck driver dead. Kubota's driver's license had furthermore been revoked in March 2017.

(Japanese original by Yasuyoshi Mochizuki, Kobe Bureau)

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