crime

Company president gets five years’ probation for killing employee

87 Comments
By RocketNews24

The president of a fish wholesaler has received a five-year suspended sentence for killing an employee after physically assaulting him.

The incident occurred in August of last year in Obu City, Nagoya. At about 10 p.m., Miyuki Muto, 47, began scolding one of her 23-year-old part-time workers, Haruhiko Masumoto, for his work attitude. The two had some prior issues regarding money as well, according to a subsequent police investigation.

Muto grew increasingly enraged at what she perceived to be a lack of remorse on the part of Masumoto. After hours of reprimanding him, she reached her limit and began physically attacking Masumoto by kicking him in the sides of his abdomen and striking his head and face dozens of times.

The next morning, at about 3 a.m., Masumoto was found unconscious and not breathing in the back seat of a car in a parking lot across the street from the company. An ambulance was quickly called to the scene and took him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead three hours later from internal bleeding in his abdomen.

In court, Muto admitted to all charges against her and also reached an out-of-court settlement with the victim’s family. Her lawyers pleaded for leniency given the fact that Muto was remorseful and had immediately began taking “life-saving measures” upon discovering Masumoto unconscious.

Nagano District Court Judge Okuyama agreed and rather than give Muto the six-year sentence as recommended by the prosecution, she was handed the minimum penalty of a three-year suspended prison sentence, which will not be served if she completes five years of probation.

Public reaction to the sentencing was overwhelmingly critical, with many people feeling that if the genders of the attacker and victim were swapped, the outcome would be very different.

“Too light!” “You get probation for assault and murder?” “That’s surprisingly light for murder.” “So I can kill as long as I attempt first aid afterward?” “Typical male discrimination ruling.” “If a man beats a woman to death, would he only get probation?” “This country is way too kind to criminals.” “If it was a single blow okay, but this was repeatedly over a period of time.” “What would happen if a 48-year-old male boss was assaulting and killed his 23-year-old female subordinate?” “A man’s life is worth 5 years of probation.”

Interestingly, the outcry over sexism far outweighed the outrage that, in a developed country in this day and age, there are employers beating their workers to death and it’s tolerated by the law.

Sources: CBC News, Itai News, J-Cast, Livedoor News, Breaking News Japan

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Osaka man imprisoned on rape conviction released in exceptional reversal of charges -- Man who attacked AKB48 members with saw at handshake event is jailed for six years -- Death penalty upheld for man convicted of killing seven in 2008 Akihabara murder spree

© Japan Today

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87 Comments
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Unbelievable.

41 ( +41 / -1 )

In court, Muto admitted to all charges against her and also reached an out-of-court settlement with the victim’s family.

So life does carry a price in Japanese courts.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Something seems fishy here...

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Leaving him in a parked car does not sound like life-saving measures. Taking him to the hospital would have ben. HOURS of berating him? WTH. I would have left after 30 minutes and that would have been to long. Life is not worth much here with 5 years probation,

11 ( +11 / -0 )

How remorseful is Muto? Will she dedicate her life to being a punching bag for those who have uncontrollable rage? Life goes on as usual; Muto is still president of her company and will continue to be herself.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Probation for murder ? WTH !

13 ( +13 / -0 )

And in the links to other stories, provided by rcket news.... Man who cuts AKB members hand with saw blade gets six year Jail sentence. The law here, only protects the interests of the people of status.

25 ( +28 / -3 )

I agree with @Alistair, the light sentence might be about status more than gender

The low level, part time employee was perceived as not being remorseful- gets beaten to death Company president is remorseful- gets out of jail.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Whoa, you can literally beat someone to death and get away with it in this country now?

23 ( +25 / -2 )

Probation for murder ? WTH !

Agree. And what's up with a 47 yrs old lady throwin' a beat down on a 23 yrs. old young man? WTH! Could have thrown back a few blows acting in self defense, I know I sure the hell would've. WTH!

-6 ( +6 / -11 )

there are employers beating their workers to death and it’s tolerated by the law

Only in Japan!!!

PS - This article does not mention the fact that her 23-YEAR-OLD SON was also in the car at the time. Probably restraining the victim.

PPS - Shame on the victim's family for accepting the BLOOD MONEY... :-(

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Muto grew increasingly enraged at what she perceived to be a lack of remorse on the part of Masumoto. After hours of reprimanding him, she reached her limit and began physically attacking Masumoto by kicking him in the sides of his abdomen and striking his head and face dozens of times.

Japan judiciary: black companies, toxic behaviour and killing serfs are all OK. Drinks all round!

11 ( +13 / -2 )

....Probation????!!!?!?!?!?!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

a friend of mine got 3 years' probation for riding a scooter without a license..

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This sucks!

She actually killed a man, well, lets call it manslaughter or physical assault resulting in death.

If it was "you or me" this would have been a life time prison sentence.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

I am speechless ......

8 ( +9 / -1 )

No doubt she is wealthy and well connected! She is the president of a seafood company and that can be extremely lucrative. Same the world over, hurt the poor and weak, and if you are rich and powerful you may just get off. Japan just lost a few justice points...

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Good news is there's a position open at her firm! Ah, gotta love "job creators."

-2 ( +5 / -6 )

Truly shocking, in many aspects

5 ( +6 / -1 )

once again the ugly side of this "self-sacrifice" culture, for christ's sake who would stand HOURS of scolding and aggression from a total stranger?? There were some situations I walked away once or twice myself when I realized it was too much or the person was saying nasty stuff just "for fun". Plenty of stories of people commiting suicide after just a few months in a new job. People here prefer to take their own lives them simply quitting a job all because of this stupid "gaman" culture.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

It's smart to pick the right, local lawyer.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

five-year suspended sentence! Seriously?! She literally beat him to death. Perhaps unintentional to the causing death part however she is still guilty of murder. Any other country she would have went to jail with big Susan!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Unbelievable. This is as ridiculous a sentence as Japan has ever given.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Maybe she took the fall for her kid.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

How can a court give an "effectively zero" punishment for homicide? Don't they realize that the fact there is a MINIMUM sentence printed in the Code represents the People's will that homicide does not get off scot free?

I wonder whether we can get this overturned on the basis of this decision being unconstitutional...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

this reminds me of the influenza defense that got the rich teen out of prison in texas. this old bird used her influenza on the judge and got off scot-free.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Judicial abuse or discretion. Sack or sanction the judge and appeal the ruling. Can't imagine how disappointing this is for the murdered man's family.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Had he hit her back, and given her a black eye he would have got a more severe sentence than this. A reactionary judge and the old idea and stupid idea that a person in authority has the best interests of the person they are beating at heart. She wanted to teach him remorse! It is all about status and authority.

6 ( +5 / -0 )

Suspended sentence for murder? Unbelievable.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think that's the issue - the judge didnt see it as murder, but rather involuntary manslaughter or whatever the Japanese equivalent is. She didnt actually intend to murder the man. But he died as a direct consequence of her actions, and if I was his family I would want her to go down for her actions for a LONG time. Unbelievable!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I think that's the issue - the judge didnt see it as murder, but rather involuntary manslaughter or whatever the Japanese equivalent is.

I think you're probably right. The problem is that even involuntary manslaughter should lead to a prison term in this case.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Prison should have been the only remedy of law; social justice favoritism for women who hold positions of leadership should be held to the same standard as their male counterparts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Seriously messed up on MANY levels.........what to go Japan, getting it wrong as usual!1

For once in a while please prove me wrong for christs sake!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In court, Muto admitted to all charges against her and also reached an out-of-court settlement with the victims family.

It seems that the court may have considered the settlement in their decision.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I have a suggestion to you guys, practice saying "makoto ni moushiwake gozaimasen" with a very remorseful face. You will need it to get away with murder next time you "accidentally" over-abuse your employees or children or spouses.

Also, make sure you're a woman when you do that, decades of anime scenes of "girls punching boys so hard they bounce off the moon back to earth" seems to have become a matter of course in this society.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

She bowed deep enough, right?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Five years probation for killing a person is nonsense. She would have gotten two years is sold casts of her vagina.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Getting away with murder, Japanese-style.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This country is way too kind to criminals.

This pretty much sums it up.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good old Japan!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Justice in Japan needs deep reforms, really. As it is read, money seems to have helped a murder to escape prison.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Abe's womanomics?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unbelievable. Then there is the question of how do you reach an out of court settlement with the person directly responsible for your son/hubby/bf etc death?

So many wrongs in this story.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Did she order him on the ground after hours of scolding so she could kick him? Was the job worth that much to him?

She is crazier than the nut rage obachan.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

People here prefer to take their own lives them simply quitting a job all because of this stupid "gaman" culture.

It's sad that these people would rather die than stand up for themselves. This gaman culture is toxic.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@NathalieBFEB. 23, 2016 - 09:41AM JST

I think that's the issue - the judge didnt see it as murder, but rather involuntary manslaughter or whatever the Japanese equivalent is.

I actually checked Japanese sources on this. It seems part of the problem is that the prosecutors started off going for the easier Article 205 (Injury Causing Death) rather than 199 (Homicide). If they went for Article 199, they'll have to prove at least "mihitsu no koi" (Eventualvorsatz, similar to Recklessness in US law) - the thought that the guy might die if she kept on punching and kicking flashed into her mind as a serious possibility and she accepted the possibility. They thought that was too hard and went for A205.

Second, the guy's family decided to not appeal already. It seems they really believe the woman that it was an accident.

Muto grew increasingly enraged at what she perceived to be a lack of remorse on the part of Masumoto. After hours of reprimanding him

It is not clear what happened here, but the fact Masumoto even put up with Muto for "hours", even by Japanese standards, is surely a sign Muto is being respected. The failure to generate remorse, if that's indeed the case, is clearly due to the lack of quality in Muto's criticism.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

While this one case as reported might look like very light sentencing, the fact remains that even with a generous allowance for unreported crime, Japan remains a much safer country than those having draconian sentencing laws. As a Japanese citizen, I'm more concerned that the overall society works reasonably well rather than each and every court decision satisfying foreign nationals with little or no stake in my country.

-19 ( +1 / -20 )

While this one case as reported might look like very light sentencing, the fact remains that even with a generous allowance for unreported crime, Japan remains a much safer country than those having draconian sentencing laws.

Masumoto probably took comfort in knowing what a safe country Japan really is in his last hours.

10 ( +10 / -1 )

Wonder if i can beat up my boss and get off with it......

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@bullfighterFEB. 23, 2016 - 12:06PM JST

draconian sentencing laws.

Wait a second. Three years for manslaughter is "draconian"?

To be fair to Judges and Saibanin there, I can see a number of reasons they ruled lightly not related to "authority". She apparently confessed (always worth a cut), she "jidaned" (another cut). She is punching a man that's presumably bigger and tougher than her, so the idea that she has rationalized away the possibility of causing a death is plausible.

The fact that Masumoto let her hit him may also be a point in her favor. This is Japan, but this is a youngster in the 21st century - they aren't quite as meek as before. His submissive attitude at least makes it plausible he did make a genuine mistake (she can claim partial provocation "points") and also that he partially assented to the treatment (another mitigation), and that he also isn't exactly feeling like his life was being threatened. All this can be thrown in the pot as mitigation.

Still, I don't see the winning argument that let's them go below the minimum.

As a Japanese citizen, I'm more concerned that the overall society works reasonably well rather than each and every court decision satisfying foreign nationals with little or no stake in my country.

The article did take care to scoop up a fair number of Japanese samples complaining about this.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

A sample of the Judge's urine has to be taken for lab test. He was probably under the influence when passing that Judgement cause it completely defies all logic and common sense.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If the victim had attacked his employer, the outcome would have challenged prevailing social norms and he would have been treated much more harshly.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

As a Japanese citizen, I'm more concerned that the overall society works reasonably well rather than each and every court decision satisfying foreign nationals with little or no stake in my country.

I doubt the quotes in the article are from "foreign nationals with little or no stake in YOUR country".

7 ( +7 / -0 )

My be the lawyer took the judge for a paid overseas trip

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

once again the ugly side of this "self-sacrifice" culture, for christ's sake who would stand HOURS of scolding and aggression from a total stranger?? There were some situations I walked away once or twice myself when I realized it was too much or the person was saying nasty stuff just "for fun". Plenty of stories of people commiting suicide after just a few months in a new job. People here prefer to take their own lives them simply quitting a job all because of this stupid "gaman" culture.

True, but scolding and beating to death (with the help of an accomplice) are 2 different things. I'm sure he didn't imagine the latter. But seeing as how his family dealt with it, you can see where the victim got his "gaman" mentality from.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Complaints about sentencing and justice aside, I wish this story would make people think about the all-too-frequent abuse within the hierarchical structure of many Japanese companies. Japanese husband endured 2-hour+ "lectures" (harassment) after working hours and other daily humiliations--luckily not many physical--for a year before he got fed up and switched divisions.

It's not every company and every boss I know, of course very few cases end in injury or murder, but I don't want my children raised in this country to either experience such harm or become a bully who does it to others, so seriously hope this country does something about black companies and the corporate culture that winks at such aggressive abusive people.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

she is an evil person, sure one day will be punished somehow

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As a Japanese citizen, I'm more concerned that the overall society works reasonably well rather than each and every court decision satisfying foreign nationals with little or no stake in my country.

But, does it work reasonably well overall? North Korea has many less incidents of this kind of behavior. Same with Cuba, and lots of other places. So, do really think it does?

I think most people are so scared to be out of the ordinary, that they will even die to stay the same. Hmm...bushido still lives.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Um. What a lenient sentence she got! It was a little comfort she didn't literally get away with murder. :‑(

0 ( +1 / -1 )

bullfighter: "As a Japanese citizen, I'm more concerned that the overall society works reasonably well rather than each and every court decision satisfying foreign nationals with little or no stake in my country."

I guess you missed all the comments by Japanese people -- IN THE ARTICLE -- about how ridiculous this and other like sentences in Japan are, and as usual are just getting defensive when foreigners on THIS thread call it like it is. And if you call sentencing someone to actual prison time for MURDER as 'draconian', then you've got the same sickness the justice system suffers from here.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

I want her on my side in a fight!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@bullfighter

As a Japanese citizen, I'm more concerned that the overall society works reasonably well rather than each and every court decision satisfying foreign nationals with little or no stake in my country." please read it again and you might notice your own bull.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@Bullfighter

If it was your son that was murdered by this his employer would you be singing the same song? His parents seemed to think money was more important than getting justice for their son. Maybe you are the same kind of parent "screw my son for the good of society". I've lived here for a very long time and I like Japan, but somethings I will never understand.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

WTH is wrong with the "justice system" in Japan?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The rich and powerful tend to be treated more leniently in Japan, saw the headline and wasn't overly surprised.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@AkulaFEB. 23, 2016 - 06:05PM JST

The rich and powerful tend to be treated more leniently in Japan, saw the headline and wasn't overly surprised.

I'll disagree a bit here. You might notice Muto is personally dealing with a part-time worker in her son's presence. This suggests this "fish wholesale" business is a SME - she is not a big enough fish to bend the law.

It might also be another reason why they went for letting her off - that business might just collapse without her, rendering everyone unemployed.

@mdepaivaFEB. 23, 2016 - 05:05PM JST

His parents seemed to think money was more important than getting justice for their son.

Jidan money is not that much: ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/示談金

It says Rape is generally 1-2 mllion yen.

I think the major factors are these. First, as a old-style Japanese, his parents still consider beatings to be a more or less acceptable form of discipline. Second, considering it was the woman doing the beating (when her son was there), the intent was probably disciplinary and though the beating was long, not intended to cause more than pain and minor damage. If you accept those two premises, then the result of lethal internal bleeding was unexpected and an accident, and her parents may have taken it down as such.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Even if murder wasnt the intention, its too light regarding that finally he died.

I dont understand why he didnt defend himself, its simply a matter of self-steem fight back if someone hit you, no matter the sex or position.

I hope the sentence would have been the same if he were the one that beat her to dead.
1 ( +1 / -0 )

there must be something missing from the story. I am sure there is a lot of background that is left out of the article and in all probability there was either more to this incident or a huge history between the two.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A young man is killed by his boss. The boss goes about life as if nothing had happened thanks to the fine work of the justice system. What can any person with a conscience say? " Not fair?, unacceptable?, sad?, disgraceful?, barbaric? " Or just simply, "Otsukare". Sounds like a joke but if you think about it..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is one sentence I'm actually quite surprised to hear. I can understand how the prosecutor will have a hell of a time trying to prove murder but assault 2 should be enough for them to prosecute the defendant. Wish there was more info on this...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yumster100FEB. 24, 2016 - 09:08AM JST

This is one sentence I'm actually quite surprised to hear. I can understand how the prosecutor will have a hell of a time trying to prove murder but assault 2 should be enough for them to prosecute the defendant. Wish there was more info on this...

They did prosecute her. She is guilty. The court just set the minimum sentence, which was 3 years, and then applied Article 25 of the Criminal Code to suspend her sentence (which they are allowed to do if the sentence is no more than 3 years).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In court, Muto admitted to all charges against her and also reached an out-of-court settlement with the victim’s family.

How can one 'settle' a criminal (as opposed to civil) trial? Anyone with any sense would sue Muto AFTER conviction thereby delivering her a double punch.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How can one 'settle' a criminal (as opposed to civil) trial? Anyone with any sense would sue Muto AFTER conviction thereby delivering her a double punch.

In Japanese criminal trials, an arrangement can be made between the suspect and the family of the victim, and it is taken into account at sentencing. That would appear to be what happened in this case.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

…..nope!

Can't say I am surprised by this decision.

Hard to shock me with what goes on here these days.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In Japanese criminal trials, an arrangement can be made between the suspect and the family of the victim, and it is taken into account at sentencing. That would appear to be what happened in this case.

Hmm. I'm not sure I like that. How about ten years in the big house as well as paying a fat compo package?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"If you accept those two premises, then the result of lethal internal bleeding was unexpected and an accident, and her parents may have taken it down as such"

Sadistic sociopaths deserve the death penalty. Japanese logic is medieval and worse than ISIS...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

While this one case as reported might look like very light sentencing, the fact remains that even with a generous allowance for unreported crime, Japan remains a much safer country than those having draconian sentencing laws. As a Japanese citizen, I'm more concerned that the overall society works reasonably well rather than each and every court decision satisfying foreign nationals with little or no stake in my country.

As a naturalized citizen you should be very ashamed of your country right now. Suspendite caput humilis my friend because it seems that in your country one can commit murder and get away scott free. Omnino inauditum !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

...If the prison system is privatized, this would not happen. Investors will pour in the judges chambers demanding sentence time!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@TheGodfatherFEB. 25, 2016 - 12:58AM JST

Sadistic sociopaths deserve the death penalty. Japanese logic is medieval and worse than ISIS...

Now, let's not go that far. I agree that on balance, they should have stuck her with three unsuspended years.

However, it is far from clear that Muto derived pleasure from the beating or that she is particulary antisocial (the objective definitions for the words you chose).

A good way to take the issue is ... what if it did not lead to death. Suppose as the dice rolled Masumoto did have to be hospitalized, but his life was not seriously at risk (thus making this a case of Injury). Muto deeply apologizes and pays the normative jidan amount. How intolerable would it be for you if a probation was passed under that circumstance?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Disgusting!! She deserves jail time at the very least!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ridiculously lenient, I agree. Absurd. And it only goes to get other violent bosses thinking they can get away with atrocious crimes and beating their employees. What an evil woman.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Unfortunately in Japan it's life as usual. This is truly terrible. I have facebooked and tweeted about this already because this is not the way society should work and it should never be accepted anywhere at all!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A human life just isn't worth much in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A good way to take the issue is ... what if it did not lead to death.

I used to wonder about this, do we punish people for the intent of their actions or for the results of their actions? In the case of murder, in the USA, it's results that count. Punch someone in the face for being rude to your wife, they hit their head on the way down and die. That's murder.

On the other hand, conduct a vicious and bloody assault fully intending to kill that person, just for kicks and giggles yet, and that person miraculously survives - then that's not murder.

The former, even if he has no criminal record, is facing life in prison. The latter, even if he has a long history of violence, is facing much less.

Regardless of the above, though, I think jail time should be the bare minimum in such a murder case.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan is a haven for under-aged criminals and criminals in general. The police here are reactive / passive even as people become more brazen committing everyday infractions including running red-lights, driving through stop signs, parking in no-park zones, etc, etc. Law enforcement officials needs to change with the changes in society.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope he haunts her the rest of her short life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That shows us that the Japanese Judiciary System is not effective. Given that he killed a man, and leaving him in a back of a van for someone to see is not "life-saving measures". She clearly had time to call an ambulance and give him proper medical care if she really cared for the man's life.

5 years probation is not equal to a man's life, who were the judges here and how did they come to a sh*tty verdict. This guys should be debarred for this. It's clearly injustice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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