Police gave victims' contact info to father of driver in fatal car accident

KYOTO —

The National Police Agency on Thursday reprimanded the Kameoka police department in Kyoto Prefecture after a senior officer gave contact info on the 10 victims of Monday’s car accident to the father of the 18-year-old suspect.

In the accident, a seven-year-old girl and a pregnant 26-year-old woman were killed when the minicar hit a group of elementary school children in Kameoka. Eight other children were seriously hurt when the car, driven by an 18-year-old male without a license, crashed into them.

Police arrested the driver, who cannot be named because he is a minor. He said he and his two passengers had been joyriding since the night before and that he had dozed off at the wheel.

According to police, the suspect’s father visited the Kameoka police station on Tuesday and said that he wanted to apologize to the relatives of the victims, TBS reported Thursday. An assistant police inspector gave the man the victims’ names, addresses, ages and phone numbers. It was also revealed Friday that the school vice principal gave the dead woman’s cell phone number to the man.

NPA chief Yutaka Katagiri told a news conference in Tokyo that it was a thoughtless thing for a police officer to do. The incident came to light after some of the distraught relatives complained to police that the man called them, TBS reported.

The suspect’s father said that he sincerely wanted to apologize for what his son did and that he meant to cause no further distress.

Japan Today

  • 11

    sillygirl

    can the j-cops ever get it right?

  • 6

    OMGhontoni

    I can understand him wanting to appease his own guilt, but again - just like his son - not thinking for a moment of the impact his actions might have on others.

    And as for the cops - Im speechless.

  • 5

    some14some

    can the j-cops ever get it right?

    No (unfortunately).

  • 8

    borscht

    I love how the police officer who gave out the addresses assumed the father wasn't lying.

  • 4

    Gurukun

    Keystones...."nuff' said!

  • 5

    tmarie

    Perhaps the dad could have stopped allowing his son to drive illegally? He's stated his son would drive both cars AND bikes without a license. What kind of father knows this and looks the other way? His apologies won't mean much to the family of the dead. I really hope this "kid" gets charged as an adult.

  • -2

    tmarie

    Also, whose car was he driving?? If it was stolen, wouldn't the media have reported that? Dad's car??

  • 7

    Disillusioned

    In Australia the father would also be facing serious charges. As for the j-flops: Time and time again they prove themselves to be complete flipping idiots!

  • 2

    tairitsuiken

    Kyoto I know, but Kameoka? Are these coppers country bumpkins or what? I can't see (never say never) this happening in the bigger cities so I'm thinking perhaps this is a result of that cozy, neighbourly thing they got going on in rutal Japan... Anybody knows?

    This is most disturbing.

    The officer in charge should be reprimanded, nott the whole department. I suppose he meant well, but, as said above, what if the father was lying about his good intentions. A little witness intimidation. Might seem unrealistic but police officers should consider this.

    And to lose your family and get a phone call from the perps father? That is just too damn much...

  • 3

    Suginamiguy

    I think another point needs to be raised. Many Japanese I know tend to think that if they apologize the offended party will forgive them. While this is well-meant, they sometimes forget that not everyone will agree with them, and this includes other Japanese. In this case, lives have been lost and an apology and understandably the victim's family is very upset. No amount of apologizing will ever make them feel better.

  • 5

    Godan

    Watched this unfold on the news last night. Took me about 1 minute to figure out what was going on as I was shocked that the police would do something so thoughtless and moronic. The father of the pregnant woman who died was really giving it to the police who came to apologize and who could blame him?! I was impressed that the news showed more or less the entire rant at the police. The guy went on and on - good for him! It is sad that it takes such vitriol for change to occur, but maybe this will lead to a more sensitive and caring police force? And maybe victims' rights in change will also improve? On can only hope!

  • 0

    Godan

    Sorry about the mistake:

    And maybe victims' rights in change will also improve?

    should be

    And maybe victims' rights in Japan will also improve?

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    In a quick answer to Suginamiguy above, it is sad but true that the common perception is that if you don't apologize in some way as soon as possible, things will be worse in the long run.

    In an accident I had some years ago I was strongly advised to drive out and visit the distant houses and hand over boxes of cookies. This kind of action is the traditional way of thinking in Japan in these cases.

    Perhaps the father should have made a public apology, but the cops handed over the information to him. If they had refused the father would probably have tried the insurance companies.

    Either way the system needs tightening up.

  • 4

    smithinjapan

    Quite the month for the J-police so far. I'm starting to think that instead of a thread for only police crimes, they might need their own site. Ridiculous that the so willingly handed out the info of victims when they still can't release info on the driver because he's under age. Something's not right.

  • 0

    Christina O'Neill

    Parental control of a minor may have prevented the catastrophy in the first instance,

  • 2

    gogogo

    another day another idiot Jcop

  • 1

    Goals0

    It's coming out that the driver was bosozoku, probably already way beyond his father's control.

    A foolish action by the police.

  • 0

    Ewan Huzarmy

    Should inspire a TV show .... 'Top of the flop-cops'.

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    If he was Bosozoku as Goals0 suggests, he will have been reassured countless times by his Sempai OBs that as a minor the police cannot touch him whatever he does.

    Perhaps it is time to educate the Sempai throughout Japan.

  • -1

    codomo

    what has the police done!

    that 18y old a** hole moron will have a chance to make an unjustified revenge to the victims' family. and i saw another article that the morons' dad called to a cellphone which had belonged to the pregnant, there is no way that she could answer it!!

  • 0

    JohnInTokyo2001

    Perhaps the families of the victims can sue the police department for this negligence.

    Getting back to the subject. Yes, the teenager is at fault for slamming into 9 children killing 3. But the local government is also at fault as I see only one white line separating the street from the sidewalk. Enough. Install guard-rails on every street in Japan to give the children a fighting chance. Golden Week is coming and lots of Japanese people will rent cars. They don't have a lot of driving practice and the only thing that separates them from your child is a little white line.

  • 2

    JohnInTokyo2001

    In other words, call or walk to your local government office on your next day off and politely demand guard-rails on your street.

  • 1

    JohnInTokyo2001

    smithinjapan, they should publicly release the name of the teenager to shame him. And at the same time there should be a media and citizen uproar on the need for guard-rails. Wake-up Japan. How many groups of children have been hit by cars and killed in the last month?

  • 4

    JohnInTokyo2001

    Too all the other commenters, I don't want a public apology of the police. I want the police themselves to start demanding guard-rails on every street. That will honor this pregnant mother and the child. To the rest of you, don't let these people and children's deaths mean nothing. Do something now while the news is hot. Demand guard-rails on your streets.

  • -1

    DoLittleBeLate

    Awww, come on! You can't judge the whole police department for this one incident of incompetence. Or two. Or three. Or several... spread all across the country... Ok, pattern forming here...

    Wow. Turns out you can. Sorry, my bad.

  • 2

    Trapped

    This must be standard. A chinpira who tried to knock me off of my motorbike was given my address after I tried to have him charged for attempted murder. The Jcops wouldn't charge him because he had a child... And no, he didn't come to ruffle feathers either. His missus was there to make him bow in apology. A truly fascinating culture.

  • 1

    mrkobayashi

    JT, I saw in the morning news that it was actually the school principal that gave out the information. So which is it?

    • Moderator

      An assistant police inspector gave all the information on the 10 victims, while the school vice principal gave the deceased woman's cell phone number only.

  • 1

    cactusJack

    So the father was going to call all the victim's families and say, "Sorry, my son is an idiot." ...like that is going to make them feel better.

  • -2

    tmarie

    It's coming out that the driver was bosozoku, probably already way beyond his father's control.

    Perfect. Then he probably will be charged as an adult. Hope they make an example of him. Dad lost control because dad didn't put the foot down nor put the time in. I wonder, where is mom?? Will people use this as an excuse if no mom is in the picture?

    John, guards rails are not the cop's responsibility. They are the city's job. I am all for blaming the cops when things are their fault but no railings is not their fault. No need to create more blame when there is already plenty to point your finger at.

    The age thing really needs to be changed. If you can get married at 18, don't legally have to be in school, get live alone.... the legal age of being an adult should reflect that.

    Name and shame this punk.

    The pregnant woman's father is a hero in my opinion. He's not just sitting down and taking this the crap from the cops nor letting an apology be enough. I saw him interviewed the day of and he was ripping off about parenting - as he should be! Japan needs to take a long hard look at its parenting right now. 18 year old kid KNOWN to be driving without a license and dad does nothing? If it were my kid, I'd call the cops.

    And again, whose damn car was it?? Dad's? If so, charge him.

  • 0

    codomo

    tmarie, that car was lent from a friend 2 days before this accident who bought it in march. there is not so much info about it though.

  • 1

    JapanGal

    I made a barking dog noise complaint. The cops not only gave them my name and address, but let them into my secure building to let them pound on my door. Cops are not very bright here.

  • -1

    tmarie

    So that friend should be charged.

    Thanks for the info - I haven't seen it anywhere.

  • 0

    tmarie

    JapanGal are you serious?? Huge privacy act violation - not to mention just stupidity.

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    JapanGal, thanks for the forewarning.

    Often it is easier for the Police to just let the parties go at it together.

    Now I know that if ever I make a complaint to the Police, I will have to demand that they DO NOT release my personal information to the other party. Forewarned is forearmed.

  • 0

    southsakai

    The suspect’s father said that he sincerely wanted to apologize for what his son did and that he meant to cause no further distress.

    How about showing your apology the true samurai style? All this talk is pathetic. These victims never come back. Their life is stolen from some scummy joyriders. Now if they are truly remorseful for their actions, they should know the route to take. And it ain't prison!

  • 0

    Jonathan Prin

    Everyone seems surprised. I am not. Apologizing is intrinsic to Japanese culture and stop thinking people don't think honestly in doing so. It does not mean in any way of course that apologies clear you from your errors, but it is a first step in showing official remorse. Also, I see no problem in provision of addresses in this world. Anyone with little time can find back any information, except if you were living in the woods...stop hypocrisy !

  • 1

    LFRAgain

    "You can't judge the whole police department for this one incident of incompetence."

    That's right. You can't. Although melodrama certainly makes for an interesting read, the truth of the matter, whether you choose to believe it or not, is that the vast majority of police in this country are dedicated, hardworking, decent people doing precisely what they've been asked to do by society.

  • 2

    Debbie Itabashi

    I do realize that as Jonathan Prin put... If you do enough background looking he could have found all the information he asked for. Thats nice - except if he truly wanted to appologize ... The right thing would have been to do this officially. Have the police ask each family to get together and let this man face them in a controlled situation.

    Earlier railings were mentioned... That they are not the responsibility of the police, but the citys. A group of friends of mine earlier this week was just talking about sidewalks. We each have had children hit or had a near scrape from the vehicles (trucks, cars & taxis) during their commute to and from school. I get once sometimes twice a year a policeman on my doorstep counting induviduals in our homes, asking if there is anything they can do. They did fix it so that taxis dont use our street as a quick way to get around traffic lights, in front of the hoikuen parents cars use the parking lot to pick up their children instead of blocking one of the main streets into our neighborhood. If the police can do this... Then why shouldnt they be able to work with the city and get protective areas for school routes? Speed bumps in areas where there are a lot of children? I realize I am asking the forbidden question - but.... What about common sense?

  • -2

    LFRAgain

    Jonathan Prin is absolutely correct. Japanese culture has always placed a high premium on the Apology, yes, with a capital "A". People here are expected to apologize, oftentimes for what many Westerners might feel are the smallest of slights.

    We see this on the news when a major corporation gets caught in a scandal and the CEOs all line up for the cameras to apologize and bow in unison. We see it when politicians resign for what seem but minor gaffes. We see it and hear in the language where a verbal apology comes in levels, from the relatively minor "sumimasen" to "gomen nasai" to the more serious "moshi wake gozaimasen" We see it the form of "dougeza," quite possibly the most profound and explicit display of remorse to be found in modern Japanese culture.

    And of course, there's always ritual suicide, something for which Japan has earned great notoriety. Is there any more severe expression of remorse that that? All to be found in Japan.

    In the case of a car accident, it is not at all uncommon for the guilty party to contact or visit the victim's home with some token of remorse, including, but not limited to an envelope full of cash. And they get your contact information from the police. I've experienced this personally on three separate occasions in my time in Japan, and once when the person who ran into my car elected not to apologize, to which my Japanese co-workers reacted with shock and disgust.

    In short, the Apology is part and parcel of the Japanese psyche and a cornerstone of how the Japanese maintain societal "wa," or harmony.

    So it's really no surprise that A) the father of the 18-year-old moron of a son asked for the victims' information, or B) the police gave it to him.

    I'm genuinely surprised that anyone is surprised by it, including relatives of the victims -- and no, I'm not talking about expectations borne of the typical and thoroughly tired "keystone kops" nonsense that crops up on virtually every story in which the police fail to behave or operate they would in the United State of XYZ.

  • -2

    LFRAgain

    Jonathan Prin is absolutely correct. Japanese culture has always placed a high premium on the Apology, yes, with a capital "A". People here are expected to apologize, oftentimes for what many Westerners might feel are the smallest of slights.

    We see this on the news when a major corporation gets caught in a scandal and the CEOs all line up for the cameras to apologize and bow in unison. We see it when politicians resign for what seem but minor gaffes. We see it and hear in the language where a verbal apology comes in levels, from the relatively minor "sumimasen" to "gomen nasai" to the more serious "moshi wake gozaimasen" We see it the form of "dougeza," quite possibly the most profound and explicit display of remorse to be found in modern Japanese culture.

    And of course, there's always ritual suicide, something for which Japan has earned great notoriety. Is there any more severe expression of remorse that that? All to be found in Japan.

    In the case of a car accident, it is not at all uncommon for the guilty party to contact or visit the victim's home with some token of remorse, including, but not limited to an envelope full of cash. And they get your contact information from the police. I've experienced this personally on three separate occasions in my time in Japan, and once when the person who ran into my car elected not to apologize, to which my Japanese co-workers reacted with shock and disgust.

    In short, the Apology is part and parcel of the Japanese psyche and a cornerstone of how the Japanese maintain societal "wa," or harmony.

    So it's really no surprise that A) the father of the 18-year-old moron of a son asked for the victims' information, or B) the police gave it to him.

    I'm genuinely surprised that anyone is surprised by it, including relatives of the victims -- and no, I'm not talking about expectations borne of the typical and thoroughly tired "keystone kops" nonsense that crops up on virtually every story in which the police fail to behave or operate they would in the United State of XYZ.

    Really, this isn't an issue about the father wanting to express remorse. It's about an abysmally stupid 18-year-old killing people through his own negligence.

  • -2

    tmarie

    Then why shouldnt they be able to work with the city and get protective areas for school routes? They can indeed do that but they can't just put up railings. That is the city's job - like it is to install traffic lights. Cops can stop people for driving through lights but aren't responsible for putting them up. If you want to complain, complain to the city.

  • 0

    Lazzaris Alberto

    And then don't give name of the criminals because they are minors. Is it possible for the J-cops be even dumb?

  • 1

    Fadamor

    that 18y old a** hole moron will have a chance to make an unjustified revenge to the victims' family.

    What? If anybody would be thinking about "revenge", it would be the victim's families, not the perpetrator or his father. What reason would there be for revenge?

  • 0

    Fadamor

    LFRAgain's post rings true. You always hear of people wanting to apologize for any perceived slight. With that in mind, I wonder what the real issue is here? I could see there being a problem if the police gave the address of the perpetrator to the victim's families (then revenge could be a REAL concern), but I'm missing the issue when it's the other way around.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    Someone disagreed with me enough to give a thumbs-down, but not enough to post why I am wrong. Oh well.

  • 0

    Mirai Hayashi

    Police dept should be indited for breaking privacy laws

  • -2

    tmarie

    You always hear of people wanting to apologize for any perceived slight. With that in mind, I wonder what the real issue is here?

    Besides it being an issue with the privacy act and the fact that cops shouldn't be giving out anyone's address let alone victims', I think it is more the fact that this guy knows where these people live now and that gives him the power to harass them, try and buy them off, upset them.... If some guy's son just mowed down your kid do you want him knocking at your do crying that he is sorry? I certainly don't.

  • 0

    WilliB

    Fadamor:

    As the father of the dead woman pointed out, the police protects the identity of the perp and hands out addresses, phone number, and personal data of the victims families... so what are their priorities?

  • 0

    Fadamor

    As the father of the dead woman pointed out, the police protects the identity of the perp and hands out addresses, phone number, and personal data of the victims families... so what are their priorities?

    They protected the identity of the perp because he was a minor. As the new case of driving into a crowd shows, if he was of age they would release his name in the arrest report that goes to the news agencies.

    The families knew who the perp was as soon as the father shows up and says "My name is xxxx yyyy. My son was the one that injured/killed your relative. Gomennasai." So now both sides know the other.

    As for Japan's privacy laws, what exactly do they say about situations like this? I know I could assume they're the same as here in the States, but that would be extremely presumptuous and probably wrong.

  • 0

    WilliB

    Fadamor:

    " They protected the identity of the perp because he was a minor. "

    And the kindergardeners and unborn babies murdered by the son were not minors???

  • -3

    tmarie

    **As for Japan's privacy laws, what exactly do they say about situations like this? **

    No names and info are allowed to be given. Period.

    Will, well said.

  • 0

    Ben McGrigor

    I have had two accidents in the last 3 years. Both times NOT my fault. And both times the person that caused it did NOT make any effort to apologize. The second time it happened I should have sued her stupid arse but let it go.

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