Suspected of violating laws related to acts of violence, the first trial for company employee Yoshihito Harada, 25, was held at the Nagoya district courthouse on April 16. Harada stands accused of puncturing the tires of parked cars that were driven by women in an effort to strike up conversations with the drivers. When asked if there was any truth to the indictment, Harada admitted, “It’s true, I did it.”
According to the opening statement by prosecutors, between April 2011 and December 2012, Harada used a screw driver or other sharp object to puncture the tires of five different cars. The cars had all been parked outside supermarkets in the cities of Miyoshi, Nisshin and Toyota, Aichi Prefecture. In all cases the stated reason was so that Harada could establish contact with the women.
When the women returned to their cars from the supermarket, Harada would approach, calling out, “Looks like you’ve got a flat. Let me fix it for you.” While changing the tire he would strike up a conversation with the women and exchange phone numbers with them. One woman who fell victim to Harada’s scheme told a female friend of hers, “I recently got a flat and a man offered to change it for me.” Upon hearing the story the friend exclaimed, “The same thing happened to me!” Suspecting a scam, the women reported the matter to police who launched an investigation.
Harada appeared in court wearing a gray shirt and slacks. At times it appeared he would break down in tears. When questioning the defendant about further similar offenses, his lawyer said, “There were about 1,000, weren’t there?” Out-of-court negotiations are proceeding with other victims.
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