TOKYO (TR) – The Tokyo District Court on Friday handed Hitomi Yoshizawa, a former member of the all-girl group Morning Musume, a suspended prison term over a hit-and-run incident that occurred earlier this year while she was driving under the influence of alcohol, reports Nippon News Network (Nov. 30).
The court gave Yoshizawa a two-year term, suspended for five years, for causing injuries through negligence, hit-and-run and drunk driving. Prosecutors had sought a two-year prison term.
“As an adult, I was immature,” Yoshizawa said in tears during a hearing. “I am sorry for causing trouble for many people.”
On September 6, a vehicle driven by Yoshizawa ignored a red light and struck a woman pedaling a bicycle in Nakano Ward, causing her to fall. The woman then collided with a male pedestrian. The woman and man suffered light injuries.
After the incident, Yoshizawa fled. About 15 minutes later, she telephoned police to report hitting the bicyclist and returned to the scene, where she was arrested.
A breath analysis conducted on Yoshizawa revealed 0.58 milligrams of alcohol per liter of exhaled air. The legal limit is 0.15 milligrams, meaning the former idol exceeded the figure by nearly four times, police said at the time.
After the incident, Yoshizawa announced her retirement from the entertainment industry. She also had her driver’s license revoked.
During the trial, Yoshizawa’s lawyer requested the suspended prison term since she had pledged to never obtain a driver’s license again. The lawyer said that the former idol had reached a settlement with both victims.
Yoshizawa joined Morning Musume in 2000. She left the group upon “graduating” in 2007. After marrying in 2015, she gave birth to a boy the following year.