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Tokyo police arrest man for deliberately killing pigeon with his car

File image: an autopsy showed the pigeon was killed by ‘traumatic shock’  (Associated Press)
File image: an autopsy showed the pigeon was killed by ‘traumatic shock’ (Associated Press)

A taxi driver in Tokyo has been arrested after he was accused of deliberately killing a pigeon with his car.

The suspect, identified as 50-year-old Atsushi Ozawa, is accused of driving his vehicle into a flock of pigeons in Shinjuku City in Tokyo last month, killing one of them on the spot.

While the case has raised some eyebrows on social media in Japan, police said they were taking the alleged abuse of wildlife protection laws seriously, with vets called in to perform an autopsy on the dead pigeon’s body.

The autopsy report found the pigeon died due to “traumatic shock”.

Police said this week that Mr Ozawa deliberately drove his car into the flock as he was angry that the birds were occupying the road.

On the incident in question on 13 November, Tokyo police said, Mr Ozawa “used his car to kill a common pigeon, which is not a game animal”.

Authorities said that on 13 November, Mr Ozawa “used his car to kill a common pigeon, which is not a game animal” in Tokyo.

Mr Ozawa was arrested on Sunday.

Although there are legal provisions for hunting a limited number of game pigeons in Japan, their feral counterparts in urban areas can only be killed if they are nuisances, such as causing harm to crops and livestock. Doing so legally requires the prior approval of local authorities.

Japan’s Fuji TV reported that local police labelled Mr Ozawa’s behaviour “highly malicious” for a professional driver.

Mr Ozawa reportedly told investigators after his arrest that the “roads belong to humans, so the pigeons should have gotten out of the way”.

The incident was reported to the police by a passerby who was alarmed by the sound of the accelerating car.

Mr Ozawa reportedly drove the car at a speed of 60 kilometres per hour directly into the flock of pigeons.

The news of the driver’s arrest received a mixture of supportive messages, jokes and criticism directed at police. One commentator wrote on X: “Japan is a sophisticated nation.”

Another wrote: “Please tell me this is satire.”

Others were moved by the pigeon’s death. “He could’ve just honked his car horn or something. But intentionally killing it? That’s crossing the line,” wrote one user.

Additional reporting by agencies