crime

Olympic judo champion loses appeal over 5-year jail term for rape

43 Comments

Japanese double Olympic judo gold medalist Masato Uchishiba lost an appeal on Wednesday against a five-year jail sentence for raping a teenage student.

The Tokyo High Court upheld a lower court's verdict, rejecting his repeated claim that the sex was consensual, but Uchishiba's defence counsel immediately appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

Uchishiba, 35, was feted as a national hero after bringing home gold medals in the 66kg class during the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

In February, the married judoka was convicted of the assault on a member of a college judo club he was coaching after she fell asleep in a Tokyo hotel following a night out.

Prosecutors said the incident occurred in September 2011, when the women's judo club from Kyushu University of Nursing and Social Welfare had been on a visit to Tokyo.

"The victim was considerably exhausted after judo training and drank alcohol," judge Akira Kanaya of the Tokyo High court said, according to the Jiji Press news agency.

The judge said that he had faith in the girl's testimony that "she was assaulted when she woke up in bed". The victim is not being identified publicly because of the nature of the crime.

On the other hand, the judge said Uchishiba's testimony was "not trustworthy as it is unnatural and irrational".

© (c) 2013 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

43 Comments
Login to comment

I think 5 years is too long of a sentence for a such a "he/she said" type of case.

I don't approve of Uchishiba having out of wedlock sex with his college-age student but I'm not a 100% convinced that it wasn't consensual either.

-22 ( +9 / -30 )

It doesnt sound like she was conscious enough to consent to anything. And she didnt ruin his life. He did a pretty good job of that himself. When he raped someone.

14 ( +16 / -3 )

Rape is NOT sex. Scary to know many peoples attitudes are so outdated and cant see the difference. I am glad this little rapist is off the streets for a while longer - teenage girls will be the safer for it. BTW, if the JOC had any ethics they should remove this rapists olympic records from the books.

2 ( +6 / -5 )

I agree with the first 2 comments. Japanese girls worship men that have fame. This girl would have loved every moment of it. Now she is trying to get something out of it, maybe he did not want to date her? So this was her revenge? I really find it stupid that he gets 5 years in jail for this. So if I had sex with a girl when we were drunk and then told the police she raped me, would she get 5 years in jail too? Nope I don't think so. I would probably get jailed.What a sexist country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Charging someone because of he said/she said is rediculous. If it were a man reporting a woman for raping him while drunk, it would be thrown out of court.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@Speed Oh, I assume you were on the court the whole trial, am I right? ...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

SpeedDec. 12, 2013 - 07:14AM JST

I think 5 years is too long of a sentence for a such a "he/she said" type of case.

I think it is too short.

I don't approve of Uchishiba having out of wedlock sex with his college-age student but I'm not a 100% convinced that it wasn't consensual either.

It was by definition non-consensual:

(強姦) (Rape) 第百七十七条 暴行又は脅迫を用いて十三歳以上の女子を姦淫した者は、強姦の罪とし、三年以上の有期懲役に処する。十三歳未満の女子を姦淫した者も、同様とする。 Article 177 A person who, through assault or intimidation, forcibly commits sexual intercourse with a female of not less than thirteen years of age commits the crime of rape and shall be punished by imprisonment with work for a definite term of not less than 3 years. The same shall apply to a person who commits sexual intercourse with a female under thirteen years of age. (準強制わいせつ及び準強姦) (Quasi Forcible Indecency; Quasi Rape) 第百七十八条 人の心神喪失若しくは抗拒不能に乗じ、又は心神を喪失させ、若しくは抗拒不能にさせて、わいせつな行為をした者は、第百七十六条の例による。 Article 178 (1) A person who commits an indecent act upon a male or female by taking advantage of loss of consciousness or inability to resist, or by causing a loss of consciousness or inability to resist, shall be punished in the same manner as prescribed for in Article 176. 2 女子の心神喪失若しくは抗拒不能に乗じ、又は心神を喪失させ、若しくは抗拒不能にさせて、姦淫した者は、前条の例による。 (2) A person who commits sexual intercourse with a female by taking advantage of a loss of consciousness or inability to resist, or by causing a loss of consciousness or inability to resist, shall be punished in the same matter as prescribed in the preceding Article.

(from the Japanese Penal Code, Act 54 of 2007) http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?id=1960&vm=04&re=02

He's convicted for two reasons:

She was unconscious (Articles 178 1&2) She was his student. A teacher, parent, police officer or other authority figure can be accused of "intimidation" by virtue of their position of authority over the rape victim. This can make it psychologically impossible for the victim to refuse sex (Sexual Violence and the Law in Japan By Catherine Burns, page 77 & 78).

Take careful note all of those teachers out there, case law suggests that this "authority" can persist for several years after the person has ceased to formally occupy the position of authority. For example an ex-student can argue that her respect for her previous teacher led her to submit to sex against her will.

In this case though the individual currently occupied a position of authority over the girl and as such was guilty from the outset. This guy was guilty as sin in terms of Japanese law.

The take-home message here? Don't have sex with your students!! Too difficult? Then find another profession.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

i agree with frungy. 5 years is too short. in my opinion, castration seems an appropriate punishment for rapists. if you dont agree, try having a daughter. you might change your mind.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

@80393

I have a daughter; I don't agree.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

What proof did they have?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Five years is a short sentence if anything. This guy should have just done his time and kept his mouth shut.

Then again, intelligence obviously isn't his strong suit since he pissed away his promising career and his "hero" status for some cheap sexual gratification. What a loser.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Pointofviewm their proof was that "the girl's word was more credible than his". That's scary in my opinion. The fact is she got drunk, went to his room and had sex. If that was consensual or not, is up to her word against his, corroborated with eventual witnesses that testify on how drunk she was

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Speed! This judo scum bag is only the tip of the sexual harassment iceberg!! Let him rot in jail!!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Glad they upheld the verdict, and hope the Supreme Court does as well. This criminal deserves a whole lot more than five years. As it is, he is getting off lightly. People like him, and obviously even looking at some of the comments there are sympathizers, need to know rape is absolutely unacceptable.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

GOOD.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Proof? There is always someone saying, "PROOF! I want to see proof!" That's one of the things that make rape so terrible is that the victims are either too traumatized, ashamed or scared to go to the hospital to have PROOF collected. This is a clear case of it. He admitted that there was sex, so what more proof do you need. Game over for this loser.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It was by definition non-consensual:

That's the definition of non-consensual, but it's still he said/ she said with respect to whether she was in a state of being unable to give consent.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@timeon "...his room ..."

Googleing "Uchishiba whos room" came up with several references each to "her room" and "a room", but none to "his room".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If she was satisfied, she wouldn't have done this. Ask Scarlett.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The girl was exhausted and drunk. You must know that exhaustion have the same consequences on the body than to be drunk. And he let her drink after that. (he was the senior one here)

He can't ignored as a mature adulte, an a high level competitioner the effects those can have on an adult man even more on a body of a young woman who probably don't have many years of drinking habit behind her(athlet here).

Even if she said yes. There would be legal ground for rape. Because it is clear she was under influence and didn't have the clarity of mind to say no. It is akin to rape drug case.

No need for proof, the circumstences are proof enough, even more since he admit consensual sex here.

There could not be consensualy here.

The next question i would ask is : was he drunk ? Is this the first time ? Is he bad under influence ? does his wife want to file a divorce ? adultery, is it a crime in japan ?

But it would not change the fact that he abuse a position of confiance, took advantage of his position of a senior, and end up raping a girl who was not in a position or in condition to say no.

He is guilty of this crime.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's always a tough call. But it's certainly not unimaginable to picture a situation where a young, drunk college girl flirts with her coach. They have consensual (albeit drunken) sex and in the morning the girl is so shocked and embarrassed about what happened that she cries rape. Once that ball starts rolling there's no coming back.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

pointofviewDec. 12, 2013 - 11:13AM JST What proof did they have?

Okay, let me lay it out for you, because this guy was very clearly guilty.

He freely admits to having sex with her. This is immediately non-consensual because he's her teacher and her ability to refuse him is impaired. I know that some may disagree with this line of logic, but its Japanese law and in my opinion it is a good law because it IS hard to refuse someone who has authority over you all day, and who you're accustomed to obeying.

She was drunk. There were other students at the drinking party and they gave evidence that she had drunk a lot. This was also a black mark against the teacher, he shouldn't have been encouraging or allowing his students to drink. It raises questions about his motives for this. What it also establishes is that, even if his advances were welcome, she was in no condition to give consent. It lends credibility to her claim of passing out.

Normally I'm all for "reasonable doubt", but this guy is clearly scum. He had sex with a student. That's revolting right there. Before that he was seen by many witnesses encouraging her to drink. That's criminal for other reasons, but when he admits to being in her bed later that night it makes him look like he planned this thing from the outset. Add to that the testimony that she was staggering drunk from the other students and it makes it impossible for her to give consent and lends credibility to her version of events.

There's the proof. If you can't see it then the only possible reason is that you're choosing not to see it.

6 ( +6 / -1 )

it IS hard to refuse someone who has authority over you all day, and who you're accustomed to obeying.

I agree with almost everything you said except for this point. Just because one's used to obeying someone else's orders doesn't mean one should obey every single order, particularly if it's something harmful.

I'd have no trouble refusing sex with someone who has authority over me and it would be a pleasure kicking him where it hurts if he tried anything. I know not everyone is like that, but in a case such as this they should be. It's one thing to be physically subjugated, there's really nothing (or very little) one can do, it's another to be psychologically subjugated. In a situation such as this, and taking into consideration only the figure of authority and not the fact that she was drunk and therefore her judgement was impaired, the victim should always say "no". Even if she couldn't do anything else, she should say "no" loud and clear.

I'm not saying it's her fault though. The guy's a jerk who should have kept it in his pants. Just saying that our societies should raise girls to be a little stronger, both physically and psychologically.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This scumbag deserves what he gets. Crimes against women aren`t punished severely enough in Japan

1 ( +4 / -3 )

From my own experience I can tell you that anyone can be raped. This crime does not segregate and no segment of society is truly safe from rape. Every victim copes with this traumatic experience different. But there is one feature in every rape experience. It's never the victims fault. Nobody ever wants or asks to be sexually assaulted. Unfortunately we live in a culture that tends to blame victims but rape is never the survivor's fault. No one deserves to have been raped or invites sexual assault even if the person has drunk to excess or exhibited bad judgment. I believe all these crimes are not spontaneous, uncontrollable sexual acts and a high percentage of all sexual assaults are probably planned in advance, often with the victim being targeted in advance and monitored by the assailant.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What if she is lying about it?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

What if she is lying about it?

It doesn't matter. He admitted to sleeping with her and there are witnesses saying she was very drunk. According to Japanese law that's enough to convict him. Read Frungy's posts above.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

a disgraced olympian...5 years is too lenient. He will be back molesting people.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Andromeda18_Dec. 12, 2013 - 08:04PM JST

it IS hard to refuse someone who has authority over you all day, and who you're accustomed to obeying.

I agree with almost everything you said except for this point. Just because one's used to obeying someone else's orders doesn't mean one should obey every single order, particularly if it's something harmful.

I agree, but I'd ask you to bear in mind that these are Japanese kids in Japanese society. Often kids' clubs represent their entire social circle and they have literally zero close friends outside that circle. I've seen kids in Japan shunned by their club for weeks simply because they broke some minor rule or custom. Doing something like saying no to the coach might get them kicked out entirely, leaving them with no friends and no social support. It is also a country where the coaches regularly hand out smacks upside the head and assign pointless exercises with no justification. It conditions the students to obey without thinking and makes this sort of abuse way too easy (and I'm not justifying or ignoring the physical assaults, they're also awful!).

All these things add up, to a point where I think the Japanese law saying that a teacher/coach/police officer approaching someone they have authority over and asking for sex makes it very, very difficult for them to say no.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

He let underage teenagers get drunk while in his care. That itself renders all statements by him in his defense void.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So i assume he will be returning his medallions?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So i assume he will be returning his medallions?

Why would you assume that? Does he need to return his college and high school diplomas as well? Those too, like his Olympic medals, were earned prior to him committing his crime. You return Olympic medals if the wrongdoing allowed you to have an unfair advantage over the competitors. That is not the case in this instance.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Her coach got her drunk and had sex with her. Maybe she said yes. Maybe she even enjoyed it. But he was her coach, and he got her drunk and had sex with her. Call it rape, call it whatever you want, the guy is clearly in the wrong for having abused his position as a respected Olympic gold medal winning authority figure, by plying her with alcohol, and having any intimate contact with her of any kind. It's clearly a breach of ethics, and due to the sexual nature of it, it's a sex crime as well. Five years is lucky.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd have no trouble refusing sex with someone who has authority over me and it would be a pleasure kicking him where it hurts if he tried anything. I know not everyone is like that, but in a case such as this they should be. It's one thing to be physically subjugated, there's really nothing (or very little) one can do, it's another to be psychologically subjugated. In a situation such as this, and taking into consideration only the figure of authority and not the fact that she was drunk and therefore her judgement was impaired, the victim should always say "no". Even if she couldn't do anything else, she should say "no" loud and clear.

Spoken like a true non-Japanese woman. Yes, she should have kicked him where it hurt (except she was too drunk to stand). Yes, she should have said no (except that she couldnt talk - apparently at one point he had his hadn over her mouth. Perhaps she did say no until that point. Were you there?) and yes - she should have stood up for herself. Like the women I see on a daily basis in Shibuya being grabbed by the arm as they walk past dodgy slick-guys and just putting their heads down and saying "sumimasen, sumimasen". Yes, they should tell those guys to eff-off as well. But this is a different culture. Throw in as well the fact that he had considerable authority over her. There is NO excuse whatsoever for his actions, and certainly nothing that can be pinned on his victim - which I am pretty shocked to see seems to be the case on here. Japanese women SHOULD stick up for themselves - I agree. But still no excuse for raping them.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think this is a very progressive step in the right direction. Globally, rape cases have been taken far too lightly in recent years especially against national icons. While many will argue about the duration of the sentence being a too light or too heavy, either way, a punishment was dulled out to a rapist and he will have to serve his time. I just hope the young woman receives the support and counseling she needs to move on from this horrible tragedy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'll side with the girl but for a prison sentence it is still he said / she said. I don't know how much she drank but just one drink and she slept through it? He must not be that good... I don't know... There could be more to it than we are getting from the media though.

He needs to learn a lesson and I am sure the public shaming and hurt caused to his wife and child are already immense so if there are any more consequences they will get meted without some judge throwing his feelings into.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Tigerta9Dec. 13, 2013 - 02:17PM JST I'll side with the girl but for a prison sentence it is still he said / she said. I don't know how much she drank but just one drink and she slept through it? He must not be that good... I don't know... There could be more to it than we are getting from the media though.

Clearly you do not understand the case. Evidence: He admitted to the sex. Implications: This makes him automatically guilty. As her teacher, in terms of Japanese law, this makes the sex non-consensual, which makes it rape.

Evidence: Everyone saw her drinking (on the coach's encouragement) to the point where she was staggering. Implications: In terms of Japanese law (and the law of most countries) someone drunk to the point of staggering is unable to give consent. This also makes it rape.

He needs to learn a lesson and I am sure the public shaming and hurt caused to his wife and child are already immense so if there are any more consequences they will get meted without some judge throwing his feelings into.

You're incorrectly assuming that the lines quoted in a newspaper report are the whole judgement. They're not. There's enough hard evidence in this case to find this guy guilty in any court from Stockholm to San Francisco.

As a rightfully convicted rapist he deserves at least a decade of hard time, if not more. He got off light.

I am sorry for his wife and child, but that doesn't make this human piece of scum any less deserving of serious jail time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Should`ve given him 10 years at least. This scumbag is but the tip of a very big iceberg in Japan

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What proof did they have?

The gentleman made a full confession. He said he did everything, made her drink, took her back to hotel when she could no longer walk, all that in front of a dozen of witnesses. Then in private he said he f... her then as she was not protesting until when she woke up in middle of action. He was probably quite proud of his exploit then. He must have been so surprised to be sued. His defense was all women on the planet dream of making it with an olympic bonobo alpha male with him, so even passed, she was necessarily consenting. Guess what ? The judges didn't buy his theory.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cos rote excellent analysis. They were not in his room. She did not go to his room to rape him.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Frungy

Thanks for the good work and clarity about the law!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

5 years too long what if the girl lying? . find a new lawyer to protect you Uchishiba !

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"The gentleman made of full confession". No doubt he did. Japanese police don`t record interrogations, and they have 23 days to "go to work". Having said that, I have no sympathy for this champion olympic rapist whatsoever

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites