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Asahi supporter sentenced for scrawling lavatory editorials

28 Comments

Since last year, Japanese media have been lambasting the Asahi Shimbun over fabricated stories by an ex-soldier regarding forcible recruitment of "comfort women" during World War 2.

A 50-year-old man (his name was not given) from Toyonaka City, Osaka, decided to demonstrate his support for Asahi in an unusual manner. At least 10 times over a period of two months, he posted pro-Asahi graffiti in the cubicle in the men's lavatory at a public park, the West Japan edition of the Sankei Shimbun (Feb 26) reported.

Caught red-handed and charged with vandalism, the man did not deny his crimes. During his trial in the Osaka District Court, he admitted, "I was really stupid."

Last October, the man, infuriated by the contents of a train advertisement attacking the Asahi, was feeling "insulted" and "irritable." Entering a toilet stall in a park in Suita City, which borders on Toyonaka, he used a felt-tipped marker pen to denounce rival newspapers, writing: "Here's my opinion: Asahi O, Yomiuri X, Sankei X, Mainichi X."

He also accused companies that appeared to take sides against Asahi as "murderers."

Upon exiting the lavatory, the man headed for the park exit, but was apprehended by an undercover policeman who had staked out the area. After confirming graffiti had been freshly scrawled in the cubicle, the officer pursued the suspect and placed him under arrest on charges of vandalism.

From the police interrogation, the man admitted he had defaced the same toilet as many as 10 times.

"You know what you did was illegal," the police told him.

"I know it's illegal, but all I could think of at the moment was expressing my views somehow," the suspect replied.

It was learned that the man, after graduating from junior college, had joined a food manufacturer but quit after only two months and had since worked at part-time jobs. Still single, he lived with his father, who, as it turned out, had always been a loyal subscriber to the Asahi Shimbun.

From around mid-August of last year, the man began scrawling such graffiti as "Asahi Banzai!" "Dissolve the US-Japan alliance" and other slogans in the park toilet, hopefully to convey his feelings to other residents in the city who happened to drop in and use the loo.

As soon as the graffiti was spotted, the authorities removed it. They also pasted notices on the walls, warning that "Graffiti is a crime. Don't do it." When the vandalism continued, the park filed a damage report to the police.

A transcript from the man's trial, which began on Feb 5, included the following give-and-take between the prosecutor and the accused.

Prosecutor: Do you ever go online? Accused: No, not at all. P: In order to express your opinions, it seems there would be other ways beside scrawling graffiti in toilets, don't you think? A: I felt excited, and just wasn't thinking what I was doing. P: How did you expect other people to react when seeing your graffiti? A: Well, maybe they go home or to school or wherever and spread it by word of mouth. P: Do you really think it would be disseminated that way? A: Maybe not so much, but I thought to some extent it might generate some controversy. P: Have you yourself been moved by the sight of other people's graffiti? A: If we share the same opinion, then I'd think, "That's the way I feel too." P: But I would think that for the person using the toilet, it would appear rather unpleasant. A: I suppose that there will also be those who ignore it…

In the course of the trial, the prosecutor described the man's repeated forays to scrawl on the wall as "habitual and malicious," and demanded the court impose a one-year prison sentence.

The man's defense attorney, in his final summation, said that "During the investigation my client admitted to his crime and agreed to pay compensation for damages."

The cost of removing the scribble came to over 84,000 yen. The man said he would transfer money to the city in three installments, beginning from March.

"Instead of the Internet, from now on when I want to say something I'll send letters to the editor column in the newspaper," the man promised the court.

Since his attorney and the prosecutor were more or less in agreement, there were no surprises in the ruling. On Feb 24, the court sentenced the man to one year in prison, suspended for three years.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
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One year for some toilet graffiti?? A little extreme.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

They had a policeman stakeout the toilet??

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's funny because the prosecutor's questions sound less like those of a prosecutor and more like a nagging wife. And his answers are just like a husband caught cheating ("I was really stupid," and "I felt excited, and just wasn’t thinking what I was doing.").

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Good that the guy apparently doesn't own a computer, or he'd be here in JT every day posting all kinds of weird stuff.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Was he caught red-handed or brown-handed?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

He could pay for his own advertisement in the train to counter the one that annoyed him.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is this an agenda ? There was a crime story the other day, in which the culprit, was a newspaper delivery rider (for the Asahi). Is this an insidious way for the media to attack that paper ?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The graffiti was a dumb idea and will probably give more ammunition to nationalists. Love how the prosecutor suggested he should have expressed his political opinions online instead: pretty soon that will be illegal too.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Can't understand why he dissed the Mainichi. Along with the Asahi, it's leftish and intelligent. I like them both.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Strangerland, he hasn't been sentenced to prison, he was given a suspended sentence.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Your point? He was still sentence to 1 year, and if he gets caught doing something else during the suspended time, he'll have to serve that year (or whatever part is mandatory in Japan).

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Umm, my point is that there is an ENORMOUS difference between sent to prison for a year (which in my opinion would have been a huge over reaction to his crime) and being told "if you keep doing this, you will be sent to prison for a year". I'm surprised you had to ask.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Sure. But regardless, it is a year sentence, and to go back to my original comment:

One year for some toilet graffiti?? A little extreme.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

seriously 1 year and a fine for some graffiti? Its a misdemeanor not a felony...

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

A suspended sentence. All they are doing is making sure he doesn't go back to doing again for 3 years. And 84,000 yen is pretty cheap. Not much more than a speeding ticket.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@strangerland

The point is that the sentence is Japanese law. Your view is simply a subjective view which is irrelevant.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Where did I claim it wasn't Japanese law? And I agree, I'm just a random voice on the Internet, and irrelevant. That doesn't change my opinion that it seems excessive.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Strangerland, he hasn't been sentenced to prison, he was given a suspended sentence.

Seems to me like some folks have a problem with comprehending the article here. It isn't semantics either, the guy WAS sentenced to 1 year in prison for graffiti, and I agree that seems harsh seeing as how he is paying restitution.

The sentence was not carried out as he was placed on probation for 3 years, which as noted means that he if gets caught screwing up within the next three years the probation will probably be revoked and the sentence would be carried out, 1 year in prison.

Just because one does not have the sentence carried out does not mean that the original judgement does not apply. He will be a convicted criminal, whether he actually serves the sentence of time in prison or not is up to him now.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

thepersoniamnow,

They had a policeman stakeout the toilet??

That's what it says.

That's how they got George Michael!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Graffiti supporting Asahi: Crimethink

Picketing Korean school: Goodthink

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspeak

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Typical left-wing loon. Gets his information from the Asahi Shimbun and graffiti on toilet walls.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

One year for some toilet graffiti?? A little extreme.

Had it been one time, I might agree with you. But this guy went in and did it "at least ten times over a period of two months". That's not a guy who's angry. That's a guy who has become a habitual offender.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

GalapagosnoGairaishu: Good that the guy apparently doesn't own a computer, or he'd be here in JT every day posting all kinds of weird stuff.

Are you sure he's not? Any Asahi haters on here who failed to post around the February 5th trial date?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Meanwhile, smokers throughout Japan trash the country on a daily basis, resulting in cleanup costs of billions of yen. Has anyone ever heard of a smoker in Japan getting prosecuted for littering?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Asahi Banzai!” “Dissolve the US-Japan alliance”

yeah, and when the US leaves, im gone too!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is a battle for press freedom in Japan. It is certainly not any coincidence the unprecedented attack on the Asahi and Japan's abysmal low ranking in press freedom. We should start a campaign of resistance now with:

"Asahi O, Yomiuri X, Sankei X, Mainichi X"

Everyone, one time, scrawl this on a public wall somewhere. Power in numbers!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

you want to know what vandalism is? its those black vans blaring at a million decibels things that i did not ask to hear. they should be charged with vandalizing my peace, with vandalizing my ears and my brain with the stpudity of their ideas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And this is news? It seems he's just another nobody with too much free time on his hands.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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