On February 18th, the Nagoya District Court found Hisayoshi Okuda, the former mayor of Owase, Mie Prefecture, guilty of molesting a 15 year old in 2010. The judge stated that the victim’s testimony was trustworthy and that it was clear Okuda committed the crime, even finding him lacking remorse, yet for some reason he was only given a six-month suspended sentence.
Okuda was accused of fondling the 15 year old girl’s breast at cram school in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture, on July 8th, 2010. He continued to plead not guilty throughout the trial, arguing that incident supposedly took place in a school room with clear glass windows that would have allowed someone on the outside to see what happened. Because of this, he said, it was highly improbable that someone would commit such an obscene act there.
The court dismissed the ridiculous claims, pointing out that the windows were partially covered by posters, making it difficult for someone walking by to really see what was going on inside the room. In handing down the verdict, Judge Tokiharu Amano stated that Okuda caused the victim to suffer great psychological pain, yet he didn’t explain what it was that made it “clear that the accused committed the crime.” If it was such an obvious crime, why was Okuda only given a six month suspended sentence for molesting a minor? Punishment like that makes it seem as if the judge gave enough credit to the accused’s argument to cast doubt over what did or didn’t happen in the school room. While Okuda was removed from his position of Owase Mayor in March 2009, it was because of no-confidence votes over a matter unrelated to molestation.
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