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22-yr-old reported to prosecutors for online attacks on Tokyo car crash widower

MPD investigators examine the site where the fatal accident occurred in Tokyo's Toshima Ward, on April 19, 2019. (Mainichi/Toshiki Miyama)

TOKYO -- The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) sent documents on a 22-year-old man to public prosecutors on April 28 on suspicion of defaming another man whose wife and child were struck and killed in a car accident in April 2019.

    The 22-year-old man, who lives in Fuso, Aichi Prefecture, reportedly admitted to the allegations and told investigators, "I'm sorry for what I have done."

    According to investigators, the man is suspected of defaming Takuya Matsunaga, 35, on social media by replying to one of Matsunaga's posts. The man wrote, "It looked like you were just fighting to get money and stir a public reaction," among other comments that were viewed by an unspecified number of people.

    After Matsunaga cited the man's post on his Twitter page and wrote, "I am going to consult with the police," the post was deleted. Matsunaga later filed a damage report.

    After a detailed investigation by the MPD into past Twitter posts and other information, the man's involvement emerged. The police raided the man's home on March 19 on suspicion of insulting the victim, and were analyzing the seized cellphone to verify the evidence.

    The fatal accident occurred on April 19, 2019, on a metropolitan road in Tokyo's Ikebukuro area. A passenger car went out of control at an intersection and hit and killed Matsunaga's wife Mana, 31, and daughter Riko, 3, who were crossing the road on a bicycle. Nine others were seriously injured.

    The Japanese government has been considering countermeasures against online defamation in response to the sudden death in May 2020 of Hana Kimura, then 22, a professional wrestler, who appeared in a popular Fuji Television Network Inc. reality show.

    In April 2021, a revised law on the limitation of liability for damages of specified telecommunications service providers was enacted to simplify court procedures for identifying anonymous posters. In addition, in March 2022, the Cabinet approved a bill to revise the Penal Code to make the statutory penalty for insult more severe, which is now being deliberated in the Diet.

    (Japanese original by Takuya Suzuki, Maki Kihara, and Ayumu Iwasaki, Tokyo City News Department)

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