crime

Defendant in PC death threat case jailed for 8 years

30 Comments

A former IT worker was sentenced to eight years in prison by the Tokyo District Court on Wednesday for sending death threats by hacking into other people's computers.

In a bizarre case, Yusuke Katayama, 32, was arrested in 2012 on charges of using a remote computer and sending a mass-killing threat to a comic book event after months of evading investigators with a series of vexing cyber-riddles. He also said he would attack an airplane and target a kindergarten attended by the grandchildren of Emperor Akihito.

"He committed the crime, and the purpose of it was for police to make wrongful arrests," said presiding judge Katsunori Ohno, adding that Katayama's actions had been "vicious."

Prosecutors had sought a jail term of 10 years for Katayama.

Katayama denied the charges and was released on bail last March as his trial proceeded. While Katayama was in court during a session, an email was sent to media organizations and lawyers, in which the unidentified sender claimed to the be "the real culprit" behind a series of email death threats in 2012 that were sent by hacking into other people's computers.

Katayama held a news conference and said he knew some people would suspect him but said he was not the culprit and called for the trial to be ended. He was released and dropped out of sight.

In the email, the sender referred to the "PC remote control virus case," and said: "I am the one responsible. It has been a while hasn't it?" The unknown sender wrote that he/she had framed Katayama for the cyberattacks. "Katayama sure has landed in a tough spot, and I felt a bit sorry for him," the sender wrote.

However, Katayama was seen wandering along the bank of the Arakawa River in Edogawa Ward and was seen to bury something. Police searched the area and found a smartphone with the message that was sent while he was in court.

Katayama was rearrested and admitted sending that email himself using a timer on a smartphone.

Earlier in the high-profile case, four individuals were mistakenly arrested during the initial investigation following an exhaustive hunt that at one stage had authorities tracking down a cat for clues.

The case proved embarrassing for the National Police Agency (NPA) after it emerged that officers had extracted "confessions" from the four people who had nothing to do with the threats.

An anonymous hacker then sent messages to newspapers and broadcasters, with the sender claiming details of a computer virus used to dispatch the threats were strapped to a cat living on an island near Tokyo.

After cracking a set of riddles, police found the cat and removed a digital memory card from its collar which revealed a message saying "a past experience in a criminal case" had caused the hacker to act.

Police analyzed the memory card and footage taken by security cameras, coming to suspect that Katayama, a resident of Tokyo, was responsible for the hacking campaign, media said.

© Japan Today/AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

30 Comments
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This is absurd. The penalty should be less severe for a mass threat mailing, as the odds on the credibility of the threat diminish with increases in the number of people threatened. I'm guessing the sentence is because he made the cops look stupid and there were "Imperial entanglements", as they say in Star Wars. I suppose the waste of police resources--my taxes---is a factor, though.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

The country where threats land you more jail time than actual murder.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

There definitely is some weird standards when it comes to sentencing in Japan. I reckon the reason he got such a harsh penalty is because he made threats against the emperor's grandkids. If you say anything negative about the king in Thailand you'll spend the rest of your life in jail.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Earlier in the high-profile case, four individuals were mistakenly arrested during the initial investigation following an exhaustive hunt that at one stage had authorities tracking down a cat for clues.

The case proved embarrassing for the National Police Agency (NPA) after it emerged that officers had extracted "confessions" from the four people who had nothing to do with the threats.

This story in general is interesting, but this section of the story speaks volumes about Japan's legal system. Japan needs to treat those in custody as innocent until proven guilty. There must be sufficient evidence to prove guilt, not just accusations, and in this case, confessions.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

I reckon the reason he got such a harsh penalty is because he made threats against the emperor's grandkids.

I suspect it has more to do with causing embarrassment to the NPA

8 ( +10 / -2 )

There definitely is some weird standards when it comes to sentencing in Japan. I reckon the reason he got such a harsh penalty is because he made threats against the emperor's grandkids. If you say anything negative about the king in Thailand you'll spend the rest of your life in jail.

False. One of his threats was to blow up Japan Air Lines (Narita-JFK) which pursuant to 航空機の強取等の処罰に関する法律 carries a minimum sentence of 7 years. With 8 other threats he made, the prosecution request of 10 year imprisonment is not too far fetched.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Threatening to kill people at a convention, kill everyone on a plane and kill children SHOULD get a heavy penalty. Scaring people half to death and disrupting lives shouldn't be tolerated.

Added, if this loser gets 8 years, then they should give at least 20 for those who actually kill their own children.

The case proved embarrassing for the National Police Agency (NPA) after it emerged that officers had extracted “confessions” from the four people who had nothing to do with the threats.

Not only this embarrassing it's downright disturbing.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Simply a matter of this being a high profile case (it was all over the media) and the authorities wanting to appear tough. Of course, there is also the issue that the defendant courted the media (claiming his innocence) and rubbed the police's nose in it when they couldn't get enough evidence to convict. It was only this guy's own vanity that put him in the dock. In other words, this sentence is payback. I reckon they tacked on five years for the hell of it (and also as a warning to would be copycats.

As an aside, I wonder what restitution those who were wrongly accused will get (I won't hold my breath). Indeed, a certain university got rid of a student before the facts had been established. I hope they ended up paying through the nose for kowtowing to public hysteria rather than judging things for themselves.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The case proved embarrassing for the National Police Agency (NPA) after it emerged that officers had extracted “confessions” from the four people who had nothing to do with the threats.

I wonder whether the police ever apologized or even paid compensation to the falsely accused, especially the one who was forced into 'confessing'. And did they reprimand or even fire or prosecute the policemen involved?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I wonder what restitution those who were wrongly accused will get

They probably got a very big 'Moshiwake arimasen deshita', along with a really deep bow.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Stupid power nerd

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The case proved embarrassing for the National Police Agency (NPA) after it emerged that officers had extracted “confessions” from the four people who had nothing to do with the threats.

... and what sentences did the police who forced the confessions (in contravention of the criminal procedure act and constitution) get?

... oh, wait, they got off with a firm warning to not get caught next time and a new bamboo cane for those difficult cases.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is a PC hacking case. He randomly hijacked PCs to send death threat e-mails from them. Police arrested 4 owners of hacked PCs and the owners were convicted, some even confessed, proving his point that Japanese justice system is a failure.

The convicted owners were acquitted only after Katayama sent anonymous e-mail to the police that he is the real culprit.

More blame is due to the police and the justice system.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Tough sentence perhaps, BUT he threatened mass murder, including little kids.

So 8 years locked up and therefore not on the loose, is not going to make me lose any sleep feeling sorry for him.

Recommend a thorough evaluation when his time is up (parole? are you kidding?), and that his sentence extended if there's any doubt. Tough luck for him.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

FernGully / Speed / Pukey 2

Absolutely. The false confessions are the real scandal here. No confession should be considered as evidence unless every second of questioning was recorded on video/audio. Or, if the confession is freely repeated in court by the accused. Instead of confessions, I recommend evidence as a way to determine innocence or guilt.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

ReformedBasherFeb. 05, 2015 - 10:36AM JST

Tough sentence perhaps, BUT he threatened mass murder, including little kids.

He had no intention to carry out any murder. His intention was to prove the incompetence of Japanese police. He set traps and the police fell into them spectacularly by arresting innocent people. The court is proven incompetent, as well, by convicting them. Japanese justice system needs a major reform so as not to convict any innocent people.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Yusuke Katayama, 32 sentenced to eight years in prison for sending death threats by hacking into other people’s computers. - article

Far too light a sentence. How many hours and resources did this troll destroy in his 'catch me if you can' game?

Minimum for death threats to children, 15 years, wasting the public resources of the Police, 10 years, use of an innocent cat, 2 years, add reimbursing public funds, add reimbursing wrongly accused and incarcerated, add permanent banning from the internet.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Earlier in the high-profile case, four individuals were mistakenly arrested during the initial investigation

And where are their careers now?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sentence is too heavy handed. Unless they found bomb making equipment and evidence of him stockpiling a weapons stash. A year tops but not 10.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Scaring people half to death and disrupting lives shouldn't be tolerated.

This is closer to the truth as any of the explanations I have read so far. Considering that the Japanese place a high value on their perceptions of community safety, I am a bit surprised that it wasnt longer.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So, are they taking such threats seriously, or is this just an example of heavy-handed sentencing because the guy ran circles around the system for a little while before being caught? I'm glad he's seeing some jail time, but eight years is more than many get for MURDER!

6 ( +11 / -5 )

The travails of Japanese justice.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Readers, please stop comparing this jail sentence with sentences for other, unrelated crimes. It's not relevant.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He had no intention to carry out any murder.

So he says. I have reservations about trusting loonies.

And even if he had a cause, should he be let off? Safely locked up if you ask me.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Eight years is too much for such a crime, particularly because of the culprit's motive that show that he's bit 'out there'. Nobody was seriously harmed in this crime. A bit of inconvenience for the affected, yes, but on the long run no harm.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Readers, please stop comparing this jail sentence with sentences for other, unrelated crimes. It's not relevant.

Then don't post articles like this if you dont want comparisons, they will normally come because of the type of crime and how other crimes are judged and sentenced.

Take your own medicine, if you dont want the commentary, dont post the article.

Moderator: Please do not challenge moderating decisions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So, walking along a river, he could have saved himself by throwing the phone into the river?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tallpinedogFeb. 05, 2015 - 09:05PM JST So, walking along a river, he could have saved himself by throwing the phone into the river?

That's the part of this case that has always puzzled me. Unless he was burying the phone with another timed message in case he was rearrested. He may have been afraid that the police would find it in his apartment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One of his threats was to blow up Japan Air Lines (Narita-JFK) which pursuant to 航空機の強取等の処罰に関する法律 carries a minimum sentence of 7 years.

I would think it would depend on the credibility of the threat; in this case, low credibility.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would think it would depend on the credibility of the threat; in this case, low credibility.

It was credible enough where the flight was diverted back to Narita after flying as far as to Aleutian islands.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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