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Man gets 16 years in prison for Osaka road rage murder in 2018

A court sentenced a 40-year-old man Friday to 16 years in prison in a high-profile road rage case in which he murdered a university student on a motorbike.
The Sakai branch of the Osaka District Court ruled Akihiro Nakamura murdered Takumi Takata, 22, by driving into his motorbike intentionally after chasing him for about a minute on a road in the city of Sakai on July 2, 2018.
According to the ruling, which came amid heightened public concerns about dangerous driving in Japan, Nakamura became enraged after being overtaken by Takata on his motorbike.
Takata was rear-ended by Nakamura's vehicle and died from brain contusion. Prosecutors had sought an 18-year prison term.
Nakamura had denied the intention of killing, saying he did not ram into Takata on purpose.
The court said Nakamura was aware that Takata could die if he was hit from behind at a speed of about 100 kilometers per hour but Nakamura hardly put the brakes on while chasing the motorbike.
Nakamura kept flashing his lights at Takata and hit the horn numerous times and his anger led to dangerous driving which resulted in a threat to the motorbike, according to the ruling.
During the hearings, video footage of Nakamura's dashboard camera revealed his recorded voice saying "doomed" after ramming into Takata.
Nakamura has said he was referring to himself, being disappointed that he would lose his job for causing the accident, and not to Takata.
"The lightness of his voice cannot be taken as an effusion of grief," Presiding Judge Takehiro Yasunaga said, adding that the ramming was intentional.
"Although his intention was momentary and not strong, it was a crime that made light of a human life," the judge said.
Fatal accidents from road rage have become a social issue in Japan after a couple died and their two teenage daughters were injured in a case involving dangerous driving on the Tomei Expressway in June 2017. Last month, a court sentenced the 26-year-old culprit to 18 years in prison.


© KYODO
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