crime

Kumamoto man released on parole after serving longest prison sentence on record in Japan

18 Comments
By SoraNews24

On Sept 11, it was reported that a man in his 80s was released on parole from Kumamoto Prison after serving a life sentence of 61 years. His identity and the nature of his crime were not reported, likely to aid his reentry into society, but his release marks the end of the longest imprisonment on record in the country.

After having been locked up since 1959, the inmate was able to demonstrate a willingness to reform and no risk of re-offending. He also had to secure a place to stay upon his release for the parole to be granted.

Life sentences in Japan, where they’re known as “indefinite prison sentences,” have been gradually becoming longer in Japan in step with its overall aging society. Since 2009, the average period of life sentences in Japan has surpassed 30 years and continues to rise.

This presents the mounting challenge of introducing aged convicts back into society. “Some of the elderly lifers are model prisoners,” one prison official told NHK, “but finding a host facility for these parolees is a major challenge.”

It’s a serious problem that requires the teamwork of governments, prisons, and local community groups to tackle. However, while this unique story helps to bring light to the issue, many comments were understandably caught up wondering what it must be like re-emerging to society after such a long time.

“If I was locked up for that long, I’d die of shock seeing how the world is now.”

“I heard that elderly people get ill from a drastic change in their environment.”

“I’m okay with him being released, but he’s too old to work and has to go on welfare. Even worse he was in prison and probably didn’t pay into any sort of pension plan either.”

“What’s the point of even being born if that is your life?”

“Reminds me of the old guy in The Shawshank Redemption.”

“He’s the real Urashima Taro!”

“He already missed all of the good stuff. We are entering the hell stage now.”

“Outside for the first time in 61 years! Is it possible to adapt to such a time slip, watching people with TVs in the cars and carrying smartphones?”

Based on that last comment, it’s worth noting that this guy wasn’t locked inside a dark box for six decades. He did have access to information about what was going on beyond his prison walls.

Also, like many correctional facilities in Japan, Kumamoto Prison holds regular events to which the general public is invited. So the parolee in question probably has a fair grasp of what smartphones are.

Source: NHK, Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Nintendo DS on the menu as Japanese prisons get creative to keep ageing prisoners’ brains active

-- Runny curry, no pudding spoons among complaints of Japanese prison inmates

-- We spend Culture Day in prison, food was arguably better than Yoshinoya

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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Sweet JC.

His identity (fair enough) and the nature of his crime (fishy) were not reported

5 ( +6 / -1 )

He's going to have a "We're not in Kansas anymore," moment when he steps out into society. Japan's changed a bit since '59.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

My guess is that he did something very very bad to get that kind of sentence. You don't serve that amount of time for stealing ramen packets from Lawsons.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The public has the right to know his name and nature of the crime. Especially so if it involved children. No one wants this horrible old man moving in next to them and should be given a heads up so they can monitor his every move.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

No one wants this horrible old man moving in next to them and should be given a heads up so they can monitor his every move

Don't you think after 61 years locked up he has paid the price of whatever crime he committed?  Monitor his every move?  Paranoid anyone?  Vengeful perhaps?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Based on that last comment, it’s worth noting that this guy wasn’t locked inside a dark box for six decades. He did have access to information about what was going on beyond his prison walls.

Source: NHK, Hachima Kiko

Well, that's nice to know! Nothing like what those nasty Nazis did!

After having been locked up since 1959, the inmate was able to demonstrate a willingness to reform and no risk of re-offending.

He must have been a "bad hombre" if it took him so long, or maybe he was a "slow learner"? This tale is all a bit of a head-scratcher, but then everybody knows that Japanese "justice" sometimes works in mysterious ways.

Myself, I would have preferred a different outcome to this sad story: after a few decades of incarceration he finally escapes and lives happily ever after on a beach in Mexico.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

A lot of comments assume he was guilty. Well, I don't assume because I know too much about so-called "justice" systems. We don't even know what the alleged crime was so where to begin to even research a doubt?

That said, if a life sentence is 61 years, it should not be called a life sentence.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Political prisoner?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Just not enough information to say anything, he might have deserved it, but he might not have. Over the last few decades too many people have served long sentences only to be found not guilty, prosecutors police habitually frame people. So untill more information is available I will reserve judgment.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

welll what to say..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It wouldn't surprise me at all if the man's crime was something drug related and non-violent. Something the government is embarrassed about which is why they aren't reporting what the man's crime was. Like they found a gram of weed in his suitcase.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Now comes the real punishment for him, outside. What 61 years in prison could not, will now break him definitely in a short term, because everything has changed since then.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And the sad thing is that the Japanese "justice system" isn't designed to gradually re-introduce him into the new world! Just kick him out into the public into the care of his family and monitor his every move. And I'm sure his crime was something which required a lesser sentence.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I hope for the public that he is not a violent criminal. Without information, impossibke to know. Keeping information is so wrong as it goes against your chance to know the truth (bad or not).

Why can't they reveal information while he gets a new name (that is what all first world countries do) ?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Entering the world in 2020 vs remaining in a jail you've been in for over 60 years, he's definitely going to be wishing he were back in prison.

Welcome to the nightmare world.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Life sentences in Japan are reserved for premeditated murder, and of the bloodier sort. Had he been convicted of manslaughter or a lesser offense, he would have been out of jail in time to see the Beatles “Help” tour in person.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He's served his time, now another form of serving time outside his cell and in the modern world

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not knowing what the crime was!?, Poor guy, may be a book or a short movies will earn him some $$, good luck to him.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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