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Fukushima man hit and killed pair with stolen truck ‘to return to prison’

FUKUSHIMA (TR) – For 50-year-old Yoshitaka Morito, his aim was simple: “Anyone would do.”

On Tuesday, prosecutors with the Koriyama branch of the Fukushima District Public Prosecutor’s Office prosecuted Morito on suspicion of murder in the killing of male and female road cleaners earlier this year, reports the Asahi Shimbun (June 30).

According to the indictment, Morito used a stolen light truck to hit and kill Shigeru Hashimoto, 55, and Miho Sanpei, 52, as they cleaned the side of National Route 288 in the town of Miharu at around 7:55 a.m. on May 31.

The incident took place two days after Morito was released from prison, where he served a sentence for another crime.

“I was uneasy about my life and thought it would be better to return to prison,” Morito was quoted. “Anyone would do. I thought it would be easy to kill with a vehicle.”

Yoshitaka Morito (Twitter)

Morito stole the truck from an acquaintance. When he struck the two
workers, he was traveling up to 70 kilometers per hour. Afterward, he
fled the scene.

Based on evidence at the scene, there were no signs that Morito attempted to apply the truck’s brakes, police said.


Applying the charge of murder in a traffic-related fatality is not common. Police initially accused Morito of negligent driving resulting in death and injury.

However, the investigation expanded in scope after police heard Morito’s confession. Prosecutors then concurred with their assessment.