A middle-aged man and woman were seen running in desperation with a video camera in hand – only to be caught and handed over to police officers, while their 9-year-old son cried in confusion, not understanding what was happening to his parents.
The incident took place late in the afternoon of June 28, when families were getting ready to leave the public gymnasium in Yokohama’s Hodogaya Ward. A 43-year-old woman using the restroom noticed a strange item – a black cable coming out of a roll of toilet paper. She immediately knew someone was secretly filming her.
At the same moment she left the cubicle to report what she had found, a woman in the next cubicle jumped out. While the two women struggled, a man appeared, grabbed the toilet roll-camera from the hands of the woman, and attempted to flee. Several men who heard the shouting and plea to stop the running man successfully captured him. As suspected, there was a camera hidden in the the toilet paper roll.
The couple was arrested at the scene on suspicion of disturbing public peace. The male suspect was identified as Noriyoshi Sano, 44, an art teacher at Caritas Elementary School, and the female suspect as his wife Naoko, 42. Caritas is a prestigious Catholic school that offers education from kindergarten through junior college and is popular among the wealthy.
The arrest of one of the faculty came as a tremendous shock to everyone involved, including the students, parents and school staff. The psychological impact was amplified by the suspects’ confession that they had filmed the videos countless times for the past five years, which suggested the possibility that they had committed the crime on the Caritas campus as well. School staff immediately inspected all toilets on campus for any hidden cameras.
Despite the nature of the crime, the art teacher and his wife were well thought of by many people. As one former student comments, “He came to visit me when I caught the flu and was absent from school. He brought a homemade cake from his wife to wish me well. At graduation, his wife gave hand-made straps to the students as a gift, and the teacher handed congratulation letters addressed to each student.”
The primary school headmaster also had positive comments about the teacher, who often painted portraits of retiring staff as a farewell gift, and described him as a warm-hearted individual. Public impression of the man, a teacher at a private school that advocates Catholic love as the educational mission, and his wife contrasts sharply with the couple’s private fetish for secret filming.
Copious evidence has been confiscated from the couple’s home, according to police investigators. At least 300 60-minute digital videotapes – enough to fill four boxes – have been seized, most of which are suspected to be secretly filmed images. The arrested couple stated that the motivation was their personal entertainment. But investigators are skeptical, and are currently looking into the husband’s bank account for transactions that would indicate the filming was for sale online.© Japan Today