On 4 July, Kobe District Court ruled against the 40-year-old single mother of a 15-year-old boy after his bike struck an elderly woman while he was riding too fast down a hill.

Judge Tomoko Tanaka ordered that the mother pay a total of 95 million yen (US$950,000) because she “provided insufficient guidance to the child that may have prevented this accident.”

According to the court, the incident occurred in 2008 when the boy was an elementary school student. He was said to be traveling 20-30 km/h down a hill in Kita Ward, Kobe when he struck the victim who was taking a stroll with an acquaintance.

The collision fractured the woman’s skull and put her into a coma, which as of this writing she still hasn’t come out of. Of the 95 million yen compensation, 35 million will go to the victim’s long-term care bills, and 60 million will go to her insurance company.

Although the defense denied the mother’s liability saying that she had provided the proper guidance, the judge ruled against them–something that a handful of netizens have interpreted as a slight against single mothers.

However, a vast majority of Japanese commenters simply saw this as a sad event for all involved. Several netizens called for a stricter license system in Japan.

The penalty to the mother certainly is cripplingly harsh, but there’s also the poor woman who was put into a five-year coma while enjoying a simple walk. Justice seems to have been served, but it just doesn’t feel like things have been made “right” in this case.

Source: Asahi Shimbun via Hamusoku (Japanese)
Image: Amazon