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Publishing exec gets suspended sentence over Tokyo Olympics bribery

52 Comments
By YURI KAGEYAMA

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52 Comments
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You’d think the scale of this crime and even worse the reputation damage it’s doing for the weirdly demanded to go on olympics would be enough to jail time these guys. But hey high up enough on the food chain let’s you manipulate all the money you want it seems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tax authorities will hound you for a pittance, but blatantly steal from the taxpayer and you get a suspended sentence.

Difference is one works for the government, the other just spends it spends the money

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“The belief in the fairness of the Law has been damaged,” Nakao never said

Tax authorities will hound you for a pittance, but blatantly steal from the taxpayer and you get a suspended sentence.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If we want to prevent corruption like this, the punishment should involve confiscation of the bribery money plus a penalty charge on top of that for BOTH parties which is a percentage of amount of money used in the bribe.

As long as the benefits outweigh the risks... this will continue. Make it prohibitively costly and you remove the incentive of greed from the equation. A suspended sentence alone is a joke for people who need not work another day in their life and can still live comfortably.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Olympic bid was won with a bribe so it's all very fitting

0 ( +3 / -3 )

First time offenses result in suspended sentences for nearly every guilty conviction in Japan, regardless of status.

I'm of the mind that Japan needs to stop "suspending sentences" when the involved amounts start going over say a million yen. Suspended sentences may be significant deterrence for Taro who needs to keep earning monthly paychecks. This guy probably already has enough stashed away he doesn't really need to work again. The fact he's part of the elite also means they know him and unlike mass society won't necessarily judge him for it. Maybe they'd avoid being caught on camera with him, but private meetings, even a quiet transfusion of cash if necessary - sure.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

n Japan, a suspended sentence is essentially the end of your life as you knew it. You suddenly become mostly unemployable, and often a social pariah on top of it.

Wrong! He COULD get a job, but it wont be one he likes, nor pays what he was accustomed to, but like everyone else, jobs are available, at minimum wage, even for ex-cons!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Am I missing something?

"Toshiyuki Yoshihara, charged with paying 69 million yen to Haruyuki Takahashi,"

He didn't steal ¥69 million, he made a bribe.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A slap on the wrist for stealing ¥69,000,000 and a promise that my wife will make sure I am not a naughty boy again in future.

Steal ¥1,000 worth of groceries from a supermarket and you are front page news and you'll probably go to prison if it ain't your first offence.

Japan protects its corrupt cronies and pals at the top whether they be company executives or high ranking public officials.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Stranger - thanks for the reply.

I understand the situation re 1st timers and suspension.

My comments were to do with just why some people are irked.

The crimes mentioned in the article involved $100,000s. As do many of the other Olympic scandal associated "misdemeanors".

The quantity is breathtaking for a lot of ordinary folks.

The notion of no jail time for such huge amounts when compared to say the shoplifter is seen as an injustice for the little guy.

If I illegally mis-appropriated $500,000 from the govt for my personal benefit, what level of leniency would I get?

Promise to be a good boy and make sure your wife checks in on your doings and you can have a suspended sentence.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The lesson of the day.

As long as you give the "proper authorities" their cut, you can do anything illegal you want in Japan.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

If bribing someone of a quasi-governmental organization garners only a suspended sentence, the person accepting the bribes can argue for the same punishment, right?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To be fair suspended sentence is not exclusive to japan. Alot of blue collar crime in the US is prosecuted with suspended sentences that are a slap on the wrist too. But that doesn't mean there's no point to actually holding people who accept bribes personally accountable. Or perhaps we should actually hold professionals and people in power to a higher standard rather than let it go to save a few bucks, everything is too big to fall, wouldn't wanna rock the boat.

If cost is the issue, penalizing the company for the bribe significantly is the most direct way to get the funds to "support" the cost of incarceration if you ask me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

An interesting collection of comments today. Perhaps there are a number of other considerations resulting from the conviction. There are a further 15 people to be tried on similar crimes and in connection with this activity. Has this established a precedent for the future trials - perhaps that was intended; why did the prosecution decide on this individual first? Doubtlessly the funds paid were company funds and paid with their connivance and permission. The company trial and penalty? The company on the face of it will not dismiss, I would think, an executive who got caught doing the company business. On probation for four years unless he is convicted of another offence; not just if he performs another crime. How many years does it take to reach finality with a conviction? I suppose he will be careful and let some other executive take the rap for offensive activity in the future.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Stories over the years of minor crimes such as repeat shoplifting, stealing Yen coins from shrine offering boxes, causing disturbances, etc where the arrested people get actual jail time.

How much time? Most get light sentences or community time. Cite example, when shoplifter did any real time.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Because the government allowed it and it's how business is run in Japan. Suspended sentences are a joke in Japan.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Does anyone rich or powerful NOT get a suspended sentence here?

First time offenses result in suspended sentences for nearly every guilty conviction in Japan, regardless of status. A suspended sentence is the default. So the answer to your question is 'no', but this doesn't change by status.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Does anyone rich or powerful NOT get a suspended sentence here?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@ browny1

Nail on the head! The irk and ire come from the inequality before the law and the icing of hypocrisy on the cake of injustice. But lives are hardly "ruined" for the likes of Muneo Suzuki who is a poster boy for well-connected jailbirds who never need to beg on the street, head hung in shame. And Amerika, the land of opportunity, always has a well-feathered nest for those rare ex-jailbirds with wealthy "friends".

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Stranger - I think the gist of what is irking people is the perceived - and probably real - justice imbalance.

It's not real. First crimes in Japan get suspended sentences unless they are severe or violent. The ones you read about that make you angry are out of the norm, and why they appear in the news. Suspended sentences are by and far the norm in Japan.

This is like when people think Japan is a crime-ridden hell-hole because they read the news, where crimes are reported. That is not how the intelligent person determines the degree to which something is actually happening in the world.

Stories over the years of minor crimes such as repeat shoplifting, stealing Yen coins from shrine offering boxes, causing disturbances, etc where the arrested people get actual jail time.

That does not mean that imprisoning people who get suspended sentences is beneficial to society, it means that people shouldn't be imprisoned for first-time minor offenses.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Stranger - I think the gist of what is irking people is the perceived - and probably real - justice imbalance.

Stories over the years of minor crimes such as repeat shoplifting, stealing Yen coins from shrine offering boxes, causing disturbances, etc where the arrested people get actual jail time.

High level white collar criminals, often involving substantial sums of money - substantial - do have their lives ruined by being publicly dragged and flogged, but it seems they rarely see the inside of cells as part of their sentencing.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

That's explain everything. His wife. But she did not watch him before.

Of course not, she hadn't agreed to and was not under any obligation to.

Do you know what happens when someone gets caught for another crime while under suspended sentence?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The punishment was suspended because Yoshihara had expressed remorse, and his wife had promised to watch over him, Nakao said.

That's explain everything. His wife. But she did not watch him before.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So what is the message the suspended gives out? I believe it encourages more bribery. It clearly say, "Get the Sapporo Winter Olympics for Japan. Go ahead and bribe. If you get caught, all you will get is a suspended sentence."

You act as if becoming an unemployable social pariah is not a punishment.

Very American to think that if you do not jail someone, there is no other punishment.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The ballooning scandal has marred the Olympic image in Japan, denting Sapporo’s bid for the 2030 Winter Games.

So what is the message the suspended gives out? I believe it encourages more bribery. It clearly say, "Get the Sapporo Winter Olympics for Japan. Go ahead and bribe. If you get caught, all you will get is a suspended sentence."

0 ( +5 / -5 )

A very valid point that could be applied to tens of thousands of others jailed for lesser crimes in a reform of penal systems around our world wallowing in corruption. But the problem of deterrence remains when the wealthy and connected know well there will be no jail time for them if caught committing crimes.

Again, you act as if jail is the only punishment for something.

Hint: it's not.

Do you know what happens if they get caught for another crime during their suspended sentence?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

...there is no benefit to society from jailing the person, when other punishments are available.

A very valid point that could be applied to tens of thousands of others jailed for lesser crimes in a reform of penal systems around our world wallowing in corruption. But the problem of deterrence remains when the wealthy and connected know well there will be no jail time for them if caught committing crimes.

It's very American to think the only possible punishment for something is imprisonment.

Yeah, but the last couple of years are teaching us that this is not necessarily so (and never has been) for those Americans who are positively "more equal" than others.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Suspended sentences = get-out-of-jail-free cards

Yeah. Because there is no benefit to society from jailing the person, when other punishments are available. It's very American to think the only possible punishment for something is imprisonment.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

you steal 69millions and you get suspended sentence.

you steal food for 1000jpy from supermarket/story from yesterday/ and you get arrested.

Everyone who gets a suspended sentence was first arrested before they got that suspended sentence, so it's not clear what you're railing on about here.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

If there is no real punishment

A suspended sentence is real punishment.

I wonder if you people actually know what a suspended sentence is. Can any of you who crap on it tell us what happens if you get caught for something during that suspended sentence? (Hint: it's not good)

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

A strong sentence with jail would prevent others in the elite to take advantage and be corrupt.

And cost money to society.

Suspended sentences, which is always the case for these, actually encourage corruption.

How does becoming a social pariah with extremely limited employment prospects encourage corruption?

Want to bet that nothing will happen to these execs? They will keep with life as usual, same jobs, same money. They will be praised by Japan Inc acolytes.

No, that's not how things work in Japan. You can't just make stuff up and expect to have any kind of valid argument, you just look silly.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Crime pays.............. well!

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Suspended sentences = get-out-of-jail-free cards! How many tiers in the Japanese justice system? No tears for miscreants with deep pockets = no justice!

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The punishment was suspended because Yoshihara had expressed remorse, and his wife had promised to watch over him, Nakao said.

Now I know what can get away with in Japan, I’ll resist the urge to pocket that salmon onigiri

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

you steal 69millions and you get suspended sentence.

you steal food for 1000jpy from supermarket/story from yesterday/ and you get arrested.

what all you think about it?

5 ( +14 / -9 )

Out of curiosity, those complaining about a suspended sentence, what is the problem? Do you think the only punishment for something that matters is jail? That kind of thinking is what has led America to incarcerate more of its people even than China.

A strong sentence with jail would prevent others in the elite to take advantage and be corrupt. Suspended sentences, which is always the case for these, actually encourage corruption.

In Japan, a suspended sentence is essentially the end of your life as you knew it. You suddenly become mostly unemployable, and often a social pariah on top of it. 

Want to bet that nothing will happen to these execs? They will keep with life as usual, same jobs, same money. They will be praised by Japan Inc acolytes.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

Out of curiosity, those complaining about a suspended sentence, what is the problem? Do you think the only punishment for something that matters is jail? That kind of thinking is what has led America to incarcerate more of its people even than China.

In Japan, a suspended sentence is essentially the end of your life as you knew it. You suddenly become mostly unemployable, and often a social pariah on top of it.

"A man with a hammer sees everything as a nail".

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Toshiyuki Yoshihara, charged with paying 69 million yen to Haruyuki Takahashi, was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for four years. That **means *he avoids prison, *as long as he doesn’t break the law in the next four years.

Hey this judge missed the part about…

and promises to pay back all that Loot with penalties and interests like tax dodgers.

-1 year Suspends. My favorite!

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Ah the completely impartial external auditor: one's spouse. Thanks Japan for the breakthrough in corrections system.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

One law for the rich and another for the rest of us.

The judge who handed down this sentence should be punished with Yoshihara.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

The punishment was suspended because Yoshihara had expressed remorse, and his wife had promised to watch over him, Nakao said.

SERIOUSLY??

Thank you JT. Always need a good laugh in the morning.

I'm still too stunned at that excuse to laugh.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

The punishment was suspended because Yoshihara had expressed remorse, and his wife had promised to watch over him, Nakao said.

Which continues to send the message that when you take the fall for those above you the system will find a way to make excuses on reasons not to throw you in jail.

I mean really now? There has got to be a problem with the translation here, "wife promises to watch over him"? One of the best black comedy lines I have heard in a while!

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Anyone involved in Japanese business knows that bribes and kickbacks are par for the course here. This news isn’t at all surprising.

-7 ( +16 / -23 )

Judges seem to have too much discretion. They see someone, usually an older businessman that they relate too, and they are as lenient as possible.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Many people speculated about the amount of corruption and bribery that would take place when Japan was first awarded the Olympics, myself included. It seems we weren’t far wrong at all. These Susie def sentences being handed down are nothing more than a slap on the wrist for these crimes. Their punishments should include massive fines paid to the state and to the IOC for the bite they have put on the sporting event. Hit them where it hurts. Take their money off them.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

While I am not surprised by this, it really make you wonder about fairness and the law in this country. For the millions who abide by the law, but maybe once they step outside of it, the fury of hell descends upon them. Then we have these elites that knowingly break the law, and what is their punishment? Their wife will look after them!

13 ( +20 / -7 )

Is another way Japan Inc say, thank you for your service in making Tokyo Olympics happens. In exchange we give you suspended sentence.

-7 ( +16 / -23 )

The punishment was suspended because Yoshihara had expressed remorse, and his wife had promised to watch over him, Nakao said.

Thank you JT. Always need a good laugh in the morning.

16 ( +29 / -13 )

Ridiculous!!

15 ( +24 / -9 )

Publishing exec gets suspended sentence.

Of course he does, of course... Did anyone actually think otherwise?

18 ( +28 / -10 )

The amount of people in the article receiving suspended sentence is off the charts!

16 ( +31 / -15 )

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