An elderly Japanese man has accepted the verdict of a court regarding his involvement in a fatal traffic incident, apologizing to the family of the bereaved and causing the court to wonder whether he should still serve a jail sentence or not.

Kozo Iizuka, the 90-year-old former chief of the defunct Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, accepted the verdict regarding a traffic accident that killed Mana Matsunaga, 31, and her 3-year-old daughter Riko, according to Japan Today.

The case has gained public attention as many in Japan are questioning whether elderly people should still be allowed to use their vehicles, as an aging population makes up the majority of the citizens in the country, Japan Times reported.

It also attracted attention due to the grief of Mana Matsunaga’s husband, Takuya, who wanted a harsh punishment to befall Iizuka for the incident, according to The Asahi Shinbun.

“I hope that you will not let me spend my life continuing to hold a grudge against you in the years to come. Let me be the person that my wife and daughter loved,” he said in a public statement against Iizuka.

Iizuka has decided not to question or appeal the verdict of the judge on Sept. 2.

“I am sorry for the bereaved families. I would like to accept the verdict,” he said from his wheelchair.

The prosecutors are now studying as to whether Iizuka will serve out the full 5 years or if his sentence will be suspended due to his advanced age. Japan allows jail sentences to be suspended if the convict is of ill health or is above 70 years old.

The accident, which happened on April 19, 2019, in Tokyo, was said to have been caused by Iizuka mistaking the gas pedal for the brake, causing him to run the red light and crash into Mana Matsunaga and her daughter, who was riding a bicycle.

Iizuka has blamed the car’s control system for the accident, saying that there was some abnormality that caused the car to accelerate even as he did not step on the gas pedal.

Toyota, the manufacturer of the car, denied this and the prosecutors pointed out that the car’s electronic monitoring system showed no abnormalities with the inner workings of the car.

An elderly former government official has been sentenced to five years in prison after killing a woman and her daughter with his car. This is a representational image. Chapman Chow/Unsplash.

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