crime

Egyptian sumo wrestler referred to prosecutors over car accident

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Once, a very, very, long time ago, I drove my friend's car back from the club, as he was drunk, and he asked me to drive for him, as he did not want his car towed away. At the time, I only had a state-side license and was not approved to drive here in Japan.

Luck was not with me that night, I was pulled over during at a routine drunk driver check point, and got taken in to the police station for driving without a valid Japanese, or SOFA approved license.

We (my friend paid 3/4's ) paid a fine that was close to ¥200,000, and I was given a stern warning that if I did that again, I would be removed from the island.

The authorities here take is very seriously about folks driving without a valid license, I feel that the Sumo association is going overboard here, as this also will affect his livelihood if he is forced to resign. This guy got caught at the wrong time, with all the problems the association is having here now, he is collateral damage.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This guy got caught at the wrong time, with all the problems the association is having here now, he is collateral damage.

Agree 100%

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The authorities here take it very seriously about folks driving without a valid license

That's not all. Because of past troubles the Sumo Association also has a blanket ban on wrestlers driving. So Osunaarashi has two black marks. A pity, because he was a very interesting and dedicated younger wrestler.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good. You do the crime, you do the time. It's foreigners like this who play fast and loose with the rules (and lie to the police) that create the discrimination and distrust that the rest of us end up facing. Deport.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

M3M3M3

I'm sure that most Japanese people are intelligent enough to know that foriegners are no better, or no worse when it comes to crime.

Yes, he broke the law and was foolish to try to cover it, but hardly a hanging offence. (Of course native Japanese would never do this).

A fine and severe warning is the usual for this sort of thing if it is a first offence.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

M3M3M3

I guess that’s true in a way, but also people shouldn’t be so silly as to associate anyone foreign with crime. And if they blindly do, there’s not much you can do (for them).

He is not the same as a violent criminal, someone who hurts kidz, women, or elderly, a thief, etc. Blindly calling for deportation as a bit much.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The big problem is he lied first that his wife drove the car but she did not actually. He should have carefully thought surveillance cameras all over the roads/streets/highways.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When I first came back here I was on the beach and my friend and I went to a kiosk on the far side of the beach. I sat on a scooter and kinda half rode it. The engine was running but I was going so slow that my friend could keep up.

Some cops came and asked me if it was mine and if I had a license. No to both, it was this guy’s.

They took me to a Koban for many hours and asked me so many unrelated questions like even my grandparents work. It was almost comical if it wasn’t so boring. They tried to charge me with driving without a license. I contested it as I said I was not driving, and also we were not on a road of any kind.

Over a year later and after a mini investigation I was cleared of any wrongdoing.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Ex_Res

but hardly a hanging offence.

I'm all for leniency but only where it's justified. Where are the mitigating circumstances here? There are none. It's not as if his licence had just expired and he hadn't noticed, or it was just a week or two over the time limit for driving on a valid foreign licence. He knowingly lied to the investigators, which is a crime in itself and the only reason they are coming down on him like a ton of bricks. All of these failings speak to his moral character rather than a momentary lapse of judgement. Leniency denied.

@thepersoniamnow

Blindly calling for deportation as a bit much.

I don't think accidentally driving without a valid licence is reason enough to deport, but deliberately lying to the police certainly is. If he cannot be trusted to tell the truth to the authorities, how can the Minister of Justice ever justify accepting his promise to abide by his visa conditions? It's beyond the pale.

people shouldn’t be so silly as to associate anyone foreign with crime.

They shouldn't, but they do.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The rules don't apply to celebrities, everyone knows that. When you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, just blame someone else........ kinda like I was drunk at the time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A failure both in and out of the ring.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

But if it's anything like my wife and I, regardless of lack of license, inebriation, or anything else you'd like to name, my driving will always be way safer to all than hers. She'll be the first to agree.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thepersoniamnow

About 30 years ago author Karl Van Wolferan wrote a very good book entitled "The Enigma of Japanese Power". One chapter is entitled "Friendly Neighbourhood Police State". Seems like nothing has changed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

M3M3M3

Lying to the police is not a crime that should cost you your wife, your visa, and livelihood.

My life has turned out better after lying to the police about things they shouldn’t know. They won’t help you if they cannot, they won’t defend you if their time card says they can go home...what’s your logic man?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@thepersoniamnow

Lying to the police is not a crime that should cost you your wife, your visa, and livelihood.

Regardless of what you feel should or shouldn't happen, if you get an unsuspended prison sentence of more than a year for any crime whatsoever you may be deported. Permanent resident or not. Every foreigner should remind themselves of this on a regular basis.

My life has turned out better after lying to the police about things they shouldn’t know.

I'm glad it worked out for you, but if you're taking your lies to the level of making false statements and suppressing evidence in a police investigation, you are playing with fire. In addition to the punishment you might get, there are so many jobs, professions and licences that will be off limits to you for the rest of your life if you are convicted of a crime involving dishonesty. If you fly to America (assuming you are not a citizen) you will always have to check that box asking if you have ever been convicted of a crime involving 'moral turpitude'.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Somebody once told me years ago, that when a foreigner commits a crime in Japan, it is referred to a different prosecutor as to when native Japanese commit a crime (gai kensatsu).

How true that was then, I don't know. I hope that it is not true nowadays.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cmon I am not talking about making any kind of false statements or suppressing any evidence.

I am talking about not offering up info, or when a bunch of cops turn up and ask me if I seen anything, I’m not gunna automatically offer immediate truth, I’m gunna think about what’s right for me and others. That is a correct MO anywhere!

Thats very different than being convicted of a felony.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“This guy got caught at the wrong time”

When is a good time to get caught for breaking your employer’s rules by driving after having been told not to, causing an accident involving another car, lying to the police, and doing all this without a driver's license?

“Lying to the police is not a crime that should cost you your wife, your visa, and livelihood.”

How would it cost him his wife? She’s Egyptian too and it should have no bearing on their marriage. Unless she decides she doesn’t want to be married to a liar but she lied to the police too so how likely is that?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lying about it is a crime. What happened to honesty?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some of you people are merciless and petty.

Do you expect the same reaction when somebody snatches lunch from the company fridge and denies it?

Broke company rules. 2. Theft is a crime. 3. If taken to the police and still denies it = lied to the police.

Does this person deserve to be deported then since lying is such a heavy crime? I hope he thinks about what he's done, repents, and is given lenience.

I'd feel very different if he were driving under the influence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Suzanne Starr

If you have a case for mercy, let's hear it. But you can't just call for mercy in every case. Otherwise why not just amend the law itself to reduce the punishment for everyone?

In Japan we licence drivers in order to protect people's lives. This man ignored that and put peoples lives in danger. By crashing his car into someone he caused the precise harm that licencing attempts to reduce. Afterwards, he didn't just deny the crime, he switched seats with his wife and fabricated a story in hopes of misleading the police. His dishonesty cost the taxpayers money as the police had to gather more evidence to debunk his ridiculous story. He deserves no mercy whatsoever. He should be punished to the fullest extent. In other countries people also go to jail for this. Just Google the former UK politician Chris Huhne who was locked up for the same sort of scheme, along with his wife.

There is also a huge difference between simply denying your guilt and giving a deliberately false statement, suppressing evidence, and falsely accusing others of being the true perpetrator (ie. the wife).

I'd feel very different if he were driving under the influence.

Why? This makes little sense. An incompetent and unlicensed driver has the exact same potential to endanger life as one under the influence (If not more). The one under the influence can legitimately claim to be acting out of character, while the sober unlicensed driver is fully aware of the danger but runs the risk anyway. He has no excuse.

@thepersoniamnow

I am talking about not offering up info

You certainly have a right to remain silent in Japan. This guy obviously did not excercise that right.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

M3M3M3

There are easily discernible reasons as to why you are not a judge. What if he had a license before Sumo and was perfectly able to drive? Which you wouldn't know even though you are crying for the highest punishment without regards to nor knowledge of the complete situation.

Driving under the influence is a much larger crime, as he would have set out knowing he will hurt someone from his own decisions. Saying that they're both crimes so the punishment should be the same is reckless.

Besides, don't put words into others' mouths as I said that he needs to repent which will likely include him paying a large fine and possibly a few months in jail. But not deportation and maybe not permanent exclusion from Sumo like the song you're singing. Hush little birdie.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Suzanne Starr

There are easily discernible reasons as to why you are not a judge. What if he had a license before Sumo and was perfectly able to drive? Which you wouldn't know even though you are crying for the highest punishment without regards to nor knowledge of the complete situation.

It goes without saying that my opinion is based on the facts as they've been reported in the media and on the assumption that those facts are accurate and complete. I'm open to new information but I'm not going to entertain every hypothetical scenarios that might justify leniency if true. In any event, what about the other things he's done? Driving without a licence is the least of his worries when you look at the maximum penalties he could be facing. That said, I don't expect him to be charged with anything more than driving without a licence due to his high profile.

I said that he needs to repent which will likely include him paying a large fine and possibly a few months in jail. But not deportation

We obviously have a difference of opinion here. I seem to take crimes involving dishonesty far more seriously than you. I don't want someone who is prepared to lie to police living next door to me and my family.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And now it seems this incident wasn’t a one-time aberration. The police are now investigating at least one other suspected incidence of him driving without a license.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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