crime

Man gets 2 1/2 years for umbrella assault that left victim without sight in one eye

24 Comments

The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday sentenced a 49-year-old man to 2 1/2 years in prison for involuntarily causing bodily injury to a 53-year-old man whom he poked in the eye with an umbrella, causing the victim to lose his sight in one eye.

According to the court ruling, Takuo Arakawa, then a company employee, poked the victim in the eye with the tip of his umbrella during an argument after they bumped into each other at a taxi stand outside JR Meguro Station at around 8:40 p.m. on July 4, 2019, Sankei Shimbun reported. The man who was struck by the umbrella was taken to hospital but doctors were unable to save the sight in his right eye.

Arakawa was identified through street surveillance camera footage and arrested two weeks later.

Arakawa’s lawyer told the court his client was drunk at the time of the incident and that he did not mean to injure the other man.

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Umbrellas and bicycles are deadly and all too prevalent weapons on the sidewalks of Japan.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

*The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday sentenced a 49-year-old man to 2 1/2 years in prison for involuntarily causing bodily injury to a 53-year-old man whom he poked in the eye with an umbrella, causing the victim to lose his sight in one eye.*

Only Japanese “logic” allows a person who intentionally poked another in the eye with an umbrella to be sentenced for involuntarily causing bodily injury. I hate to be the one to bring reality into this situation, but when someone intentionally acts, that act is not involuntary.

This is yet another example of how deeply flawed the Japanese “justice” system is.

21 ( +26 / -5 )

2.5 years for this assault vs 5 years for the woman in yesterday’s news who committed a multitude of offences including killing someone.

Yesterday’s seemed extremely lenient. In comparison this one seems rather harsh.

7 ( +17 / -10 )

He should have paid more in compensation! Probably would have gotten a suspended sentence!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

He should have paid more in compensation! Probably would have gotten a suspended sentence!

Did he pay compensation already, or was it restitution?

Another way to get a suspended sentence here is to be famous. More evidence of the deep flaws in the “justice” system here.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Suspended sentence I assume. Never argue with a drunk in public. Just turn the other cheek.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan's legal precedence...”I was drunk at the time!”

bada bing!!!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

HBJ, if you think this is harsh, speaking as someone who is partially blind I invite you to cover up one of your eyes and leave that cover there until the day you die.

I know I'd give anything to have two functioning eyes. I'd volunteer to serve in prison for two and a half years as payment if that were the reward.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

if you think this is harsh, speaking as someone who is partially blind I invite you to cover up one of your eyes and leave that cover there until the day you die.

I think most people mean that it was a harsh sentence compared to the often lenient sentences given for truly awful murders and rapes. Relatively, the sentence seems harsh - especially considering the guy came from a good university, was on a solid corporate career track, and now will be lucky to be parking cars - things Japanese courts often consider. Nobody thinks losing an eye is a minor thing, but these things are relative.

I suspect if he had stayed and tended to his victim rather than running away, he might have gotten a suspended sentence.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

HBJ, if you think this is harsh, speaking as someone who is partially blind I invite you to cover up one of your eyes and leave that cover there until the day you die.

@Thon - Sorry, I didn’t mean that this sentence itself is harsh. On the contrary I think this one is also extremely lenient.

I meant in comparison to other sentences. The offender in this case should feel extremely lucky that he only got 2.5 years for his actions.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If you poke someone in the eye with an umbrella, what would you expect?! He even had to use some strength to bring the umbrella up to the man's face. It's not like sticking it inside his knee or whatever. This is an intention. And in many countries, if the person was also under influence, the punishment would be even worse.

Arakawa’s lawyer told the court his client was drunk at the time of the incident and that he did not mean to injure the other man.

Ah, yeah. So then, everything is fine! This solves things in here.

I really can't stop being surprised by our justice even after all those years. First the woman with the car yesterday and this.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Seems like a fair sentence, but it also reminds me of what Ghandi said "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

That is vicious.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

One night I saw a Japanese man attack the front of a passing car with his umbrella using a kendo-like strike. It was rather impressive in a strange way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Involuntarily? The umbrella had a mind of its own?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Never argue with a drunk in public. Just turn the other cheek.

This is the first advise I give to foreigners when they arrive in Japan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Arakawa’s lawyer told the court his client was drunk at the time of the incident and that he did not mean to injure the other man.

In other words : "I didn't mean to poke an extremely vital and sensitive part of your body with a sharp/pointed object and I surely wasn't hoping to cause injury!"

..........clown!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@HBJ - thanks for the clarification. In losing part of his eyesight, this victim might be losing much more; he might be disfigured too. Life is tough enough with impaired eyesight; I hope he doesn't also look impaired.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

2.5 years for this assault vs 5 years for the woman in yesterday’s news who committed a multitude of offences including killing someone.

Yesterday’s seemed extremely lenient. In comparison this one seems rather harsh..

Both are too lenient. I would say give this guy 5 years and give woman 15 years. He permanently maimed a guy. He should have to pay him for the rest of his life.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

ThonTaddeoToday  12:36 pm JST

@HBJ - thanks for the clarification. In losing part of his eyesight, this victim might be losing much more; he might be disfigured too. Life is tough enough with impaired eyesight; I hope he doesn't also look impaired.

Drunk or not, this is inexcusable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He should have to pay him for the rest of his life.

He probably will. A prison sentence doesn't prevent him from being sued.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@P. SmithToday 07:10 am JST

Only Japanese “logic” allows a person who intentionally poked another in the eye with an umbrella to be sentenced for involuntarily causing bodily injury. I hate to be the one to bring reality into this situation, but when someone intentionally acts, that act is not involuntary.

Translations of legal issues are notoriously crappy and unreliable. As a matter of principle however, such a crime is imaginable. When the average person "pokes" another person, he is planning on causing him some discomfort, but he's probably not planning on injuring him, much less permanently. So it's intentional assault, but unintentional bodily injury, a.k.a. Assault Leading to Injury which IIRC gets wrapped into Injury, but probably helped to make a relatively low penalty considering he did end up permanently injuring someone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Translations of legal issues are notoriously crappy and unreliable.

Okay.

As a matter of principle however, such a crime is imaginable. When the average person "pokes" another person, he is planning on causing him some discomfort, but he's probably not planning on injuring him, much less permanently.

It really depends on which part of the body is being “poked.” Let me help you understand why Arakawa knew or should have know this would have caused grave bodily injury due to where he poked the victim:

*According to the court ruling, Takuo Arakawa, then a company employee, poked the victim in the eye with the tip of his umbrella during an argument *

When someone uses a sharp object to “poke” another’s eye, the “poker” is imputed with the knowledge that it would cause grave bodily harm because a reasonable person would know “poking” another’s eye with a sharp object would cause grave bodily harm.

> So it's intentional assault, but unintentional bodily injury, a.k.a. Assault Leading to Injury which IIRC gets wrapped into Injury, but probably helped to make a relatively low penalty considering he did end up permanently injuring someone.

It was assault and battery. Assault is causing someone to reasonably believe there will be imminent harmful or offensive bodily contact. Battery is the actual harmful or offense bodily contact. Most laypeople make this mistake.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@P. SmithToday 09:38 am JST

When someone uses a sharp object to “poke” another’s eye, the “poker” is imputed with the knowledge that it would cause grave bodily harm because a reasonable person would know “poking” another’s eye with a sharp object would cause grave bodily harm.

I don't know about the umbrellas you use. For mine, the tips have comparable cross sections to a finger rather than a point. Most people would not consider a finger to be a "sharp object". While it doesn't help Defendant the target is the eye, at least I would be willing to believe he did not intend injury while poking (as opposed to stabbing or impaling) away with a relatively blunt object.

BTW, as a matter of principle, the Defendant's Cognizance and Volition should have been individually assessed and proven as a separate element of the crime, not "imputed" based on a judge's imagination of a "reasonable man". I can, however, understand why a Common Law Jurisdiction would allow this inference. When the Interrogator's access to the Defendant is practically blocked by the Defense Attorney, getting the kind of information needed to actually prove Cognizance and Volition becomes more difficult, and a downgrade of substantive requirements by allowing these inferences becomes necessary to keep the judicial system going.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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