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Man sentenced to prison for groping insists on his innocence


The lower court handed down the ruling of guilty to Hideaki Ishii, in his 50s, for groping a 19-year-old woman in 2005 during his commute on the JR Yokohama line. After a second trial in 2007 that upheld the initial court decision, the Supreme Court rejected Ishii’s final appeal last year in December. After three and a half years’ legal battle to prove his innocence, the former sales executive of a leading corporation will be incarcerated later this month for a term of 1 year and 6 months.

Ishii’s nightmare began in the train on Jan 21 in 2005, when a young woman shouted that he was a groper. He was immediately apprehended on suspicion of violating the nuisance prevention ordinance. Two months later, he was indicted for indecent assault, and the lower court later found him guilty.

According to Ishii, “Many people advised me after my arrest that I should admit to the charge and apologize. Then I’d be required to pay 50,000 yen as penalty and the case will be over. But I refused because it was something I didn’t do. I spent more than 10 million yen in legal fees to prove my innocence and I now face a prison sentence, even though I have no criminal record. The verdict stated that the sentence was appropriate in view of what they claimed was the absence of any sign of remorse. How am I to feel remorse over an act I didn’t commit?”

In the interrogation room, Ishii says that he was tempted to give in. “Police investigators have no qualms about lying just to get a confession. They rejected my request to have a lawyer as ‘impossible,’ blatantly threatened that I would be detained for 20 days if I continued denying the charge and said they would handcuff me. I had already been arrested, so none of it makes sense. But I believed them at the time.”

What prevented Ishii from succumbing to the emotional pressure was his daughter. “I wouldn’t make her into a criminal’s child, not when I am innocent.”

Shortly after the first trial, the prosecution changed the charge from violation of the nuisance prevention ordinance to public assault. Ishii’s lawyer suspected it was due to "loss of face," since the court ordered his release from detention much earlier than prosecutors had hoped for.

Ishii was certain that his innocence would be proven at court. Around the time the crime allegedly happened, he was standing behind the female victim, but preoccupied with a text message he was sending to a friend. The cell phone records prove this fact, yet the victim insisted she was being groped during that time. A male witness also stated he saw Ishii from the time he was supposedly waiting at the platform for the train, and claimed that the act did happen. However, the said platform is not a station Ishii uses, either to get on or transfer for his commute. If the testimony were true, Ishii would have had to get off the train once. Based on the hour he left home for work, it was impossible for Ishii to be on that platform at the hour as testified.

Yet the court determined that the testimony was credible. Even though Ishii has no prior conviction, what he got was an unsuspended prison sentence. The imprisonment was postponed to wait for Ishii’s recovery from surgery for intestinal cancer, diagnosed after the Supreme Court ruling.

“All I can do is hope for a retrial," Ishii said. He continues to plea for anyone who may have seen him at the time of the alleged crime to come forward and prove his innocence.

© Japan Today

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more I know Japan. . .

his argument sounds good to me and wonder why the court would not feel the same? were the evidence by 'witness' (who himself could have been the 'criminal') that strong?

any experts?

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In Japan it's guilty until proven innocent. Hold your hands up while on the train.

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what he got was an unsuspended prison sentence.

You have to be a judge to get a suspended sentence.

His evidence is compelling and the sentence is ridiculously harsh in light of the circumstances. I have no doubt the woman was groped but I do doubt it was by this guy. Guilty until proven innocent indeed!

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When you're on the train just think of F and hold your hands up high!

Actually, as ladies seem to have LADIES ONLY carriages, it's about time there were MEN ONLY carriages too. Save the worry from commuting that you're going to be falsely accused either innocently or come up against ladies looking for some quick cash.

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F should read FRANCE

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When you're on the train just think of FRANCE...

What ?

What do you want to say ?

Please explain your thinking !

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And yet a judge who admitted to his guilt gets off scott free (probation). I asked BeaverCleaver if he could come up with examples of others being exempt while said judge 'gets off' a jail sentence, and I admitted I would consider what he DID lose as punishment enough if he could. I don't think he answered me, but I recognize this as a case of the opposite being the case -- a man without the proper clout to get a suspended sentence getting jail time.

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I asked BeaverCleaver if he could come up with examples of others being exempt while said judge 'gets off' a jail sentence

A non-clout getting suspended sentence.


1330 out of 2,321 sex related offenders getting suspended sentence (page 3)


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I do think this case needed a bit more evidence on the victim's side before the court could claim the defendant wasn't showing any remorse. Seems to me they imprisoned him simply because he had the gall to claim he was innocent.

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Maybe it's time for Japan to have trials on some cases with jury present, such as in U.S., so that accusation, if proven, is beyond resonable doubt.

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Fadamor, thats was a snide remark for sure !

and thanks for this history reminder... :)

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Yep, the whole social system here is suspect, more than this man. It's hogwash.

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Even if Ishii's innocent, it doesn't mean that the victim falsely accused anyone, just that someone else did the deed, so cut all the "Man as Victim" nonsense", like:

Save the worry from commuting that you're going to be falsely accused either innocently or come up against ladies looking for some quick cash.

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Japan is medieval when it comes to the law. You are indeed guilty until proven otherwise. And Japan's claims of 90+% resolved crimes is a clear testimony to how many people are tormented or threatened into saying "I did it just to get the cops off their backs."

I love the people of this country and many other aspects of Japan. But I am deeply frustrated by the lack of interest that Japanese people take in their own legal system and governance. Especially when it so often poses a real threat to their best interests.

This point above all makes permanent life here difficult to consider. There are just too many other nations with better governments and far better and more just legal systems.

Japan should try to join the 21st century if it wants to be a leader of the world. And the people of Japan must wake up from their collective coma to make this happen.

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Why oh why nobody takes finger prints from the arse that has been grouped? That would be such an easy decision. I hope he will be able to counter sue the chick, government, JR, and everybody else involved in this bullcrap. I wish him best of luck.

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"Hold your hands up while on the train"

Heck, you're supposed to be holding onto the strap handles - but often they're all taken.

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from what ishii says it seems that it was physically impossible for him to have done it so i possibly see why he was convicted without hearing all the evidence.

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Maria. You are right in that she rightly spoke out about being groped. But it is still frightening that someone could be imprisoned and not guilty. The legal system here just does not provide ample protection.

I keep my hands in plain sight at all times on the train. And have on more than one occasion had women pressed far too close in ways I was not entirely comfortable with.

Japan needs to develop practices to deal with this problem that protect the victims and the accused. If not then the risk of someone being destroyed for no reason is far too high.

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Maria "Man as Victim" nonsense"

Do you really seriously think that only women are victim in this society? You really need to get out of that box you put yourself in. I have been victimized by women to whom I was really kind way too often.

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No Angelo, you misunderstand. What I mean is this: every time a woman is molested, people assume she's lying; and if not, that she was asking for it, or that otherwise should have done something differently. Basically the woman is to blame, is what a lot of people choose to believe.

And when a man is accused of a sex crime, the same posters assume he's telling the truth when he says he's innocent; and again, that if not, then his victim was asking for it, and he, being a man with 'needs', couldn't help but act on instinct.

As for your "victimization", well, feel sorry for yourself if you must, but it was probably your fault. You were asking for it. Get a backbone.

Moderator: Readers, please keep the discussion focused on groping on trains.

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How about pressing legal charges against JR for forcing you into the position in the first place?

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and one last time Maria! it is irresponsible to only hold man accountable for certain behavour. what about woman in two inch miniskirt opening their legs all the way on subway cars?

How about 10 year prison for that?

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There are cases of young women who falsely accuse of being groped in order to make cash. As well as young boys who were groped by older women. So a lot depends on the legal system to asceratin facts.

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Okay, this thread is begging for some rationality.

Maria, yes, it's terrible to call the victim a liar. However, noone is doing that here. I believe that the general consensus is that the victim accused the wrong man.

Angelo, men have no right to blame women for their weaknesses. And there is no such thing as a two-inch skirt. Come on, man.

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"Angelo, men have no right to blame women for their weaknesses"

OK. So woman have the right to put a man behind bars on a say-so?

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We all know there are evil Japanese women out there out to make money out of innocent older men they accuse of groping them. I feel sorry for this guy, and I believe him to be innocent. This is another example of the lack of "justice" in Japan. Justice does not exist in this country. The J-police rely totally on forced confessions, brow-beating their victims into confessing to crimes they didnt commit, like this poor guy. What a scary country this is. Seems to me the yakuza, in cahoots with the polic, can get off with a heck of a lot more than the ordinary people in this "safe"(sic)land.

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There are cases of young women who falsely accuse of being groped in order to make cash.

I have been told of this racket... by someone. It's a big money operation.

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reality check.

Victims should be respected and their claims properly addressed. The Accused should have a fair hearing free of intimidation by the police or "guilty until proven otherwise" mistreatment that is so common here. Women in short skirts are not to blame for some jackass deciding to grope them. Show a little self control. Women grope too. And they sometimes decide to snuggle with strangers for some bizarre reason.

Solution: Japan, look every train in the country is crowded most days. How about passing some laws to make the commute less of a sardine experience and help reduce the risk of this kind of thing. And make life a little better for everyone. Try this.

Give tax breaks to companies who allow flex time for start and finish of days to allow people to spread out their rush hour and reduce train crowding.

Better still make it more possible for people to work from home and avoid the commute all together a few days a week.

For very busy lines, build additional lines where possible, add other trains where possible.

At night run more trains later into the night so many people will go out with friends and come home later than all smashing together during the midnight rush.

For the sensitive women, allow all women cars all day.
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Police: You are destroying an innocent man and I am sure you realize the people have lost respect for the Japanese police. I feel the people should invent an icon and everyone should wear it in protest and also in support for an innocent man

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Everyone who believes this man to be innocent should wear a yellow ribbon on his lapel for the next two weeks.

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arrange a Trial by debate over the Japanese Internet ,,, Just a thought and it could bring some comfort if found innocent . "Yes you can"

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So -- I know it's a translated piece, but that is one poorly written news story. The writer just assumes that a text message being sent exonerates the guy. That's stupid. People can ride a bike sending text messages -- they can certainly grope doing it. The writer assumes that it is somehow impossible for the guy to be at a station different than the ones he normally uses. Ever get off of a train just for the heck of it?

I'm not saying the guy isn't being railroaded, but the reporter should just play it straight instead of trying to be the Hardy Boys.

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There definitely needs to be a new system to protect the accused. Two friends of mine just spent 22 days in Japanese jail and luckily were found innocent. I cannot imagine what it would be like for this guy to be stuck in jail and be innocent. But overall any country with a death penalty should not have a guilty until proven innocent policy. I mean just look at the case of Sakae Menda.

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No Angelo, you misunderstand. What I mean is this: every time a woman is molested, >people assume she's lying; and if not, that she was asking for it, or that otherwise >should have done something differently. Basically the woman is to blame, is what a lot >of people choose to believe.

I really don't think that is the case. If you happen to read a post I made yesterday, I explained what I saw last week in detail: A girl near me on the train accused a Japanese guy of groping her, a mob of salarymen including myself chased after him, and he was apprehended and dealt with.

Give me a break.


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LOL, I've seen exactly this false accusation on a train. A girl pushed against then yelled at some likely looking meek middle-aged guy and the JR staff at the next station nearly pulled him off but fortunately an older lady who was sitting down had witnessed it and she said something angrily and the younger girl suddenly ran away (interestingly there was a younger guy with her who also ran for it). That old guy was very thankful and I bet he would have been in lots of trouble if not for someone standing up for him.

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Why don't they install a hi-resolution security camera on the train to deter groping and false accusation? Camera will act as a third party witness.

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It's all too easy for women to scream, "Chikan!" and have a man falsely accused. However, there is still a large amount of confirmed cases of train groping. Japanese men have shot themselves in the foot. If so many men weren't perverted little dweebs they could make a stand against a false accusation. In this case, I would say he is not guilty and as it is only her word against his with no witnesses he should be given the benefit of the doubt.

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I hate riding the lines, every time I do ride I keep both hands up holding two rings. Feel for the guy, he sounds like he is innocent. But the truth is, no one really knows.

But on thing is true, watch where your hands are and try to avoid contact!

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Sexual assault and domestic violence -- two crimes for which men are all too often presumed guilty until proven innocent.

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sfjp330-"Why don't they install a hi-resolution security camera on the train to deter groping and false accusation? Camera will act as a third party witness."

If they are going to invest that much money, 24 hour trains would probably do more to reduce groping incidents being as that last train is always jam packed just for being the last train.

What is more is that people get so packed on the trains, that there is no angle you could put the camera to collect that sort of evidence.

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Was his DNA on her genital area? On her buttocks? On her clothing? If not, he should be innocent, right?

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Regardless if this guy did it or not, the justice system in Japan is seriously messed up. There is no presumption of innocence but rather if the police and prosecutor wills it there is in fact a presumption of guilt. The real judge is the the police and prosecutor's office. Everything is done by peer pressure, and saving face really is more important than determining guilt or innocence. For that reason, it no longer matters whether or not a crime was committed.

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All the more reason to videotape 100% of police interrogations! The remark about the appropriateness of the sentence for somebody who shows a lack of remorse illustrates the utter stupidity of Japanese judges! The remark proves without a doubt in the "you were arrested so you must be guilty" mentality that makes Japanese justice a farce in the 21st century!

Here's another solution - Men only train cars - Women only train cars! No mixing permitted! Draconian? You bet, but it fits right in with the mentality here!

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O.K. and let's have a Gaijin only car while we're at it. The other day I was doing the Yamanote line gig which I do twice daily, a.m. and p.m. rush hours, and in the p.m. this smallish oba-san comes behind me, one of 4-5 pushing in at the last as we all do. But this oba-san came after me with first a push in the back and then after safely in, an extra elbow in the side for good measure. I protested, "hiji tsukawanai de kure yo", to which she responded "oh, sorry". This never happened to Cleo in all of her/his 35 years I'm sure, but it does happen. Yes, I'm saying I was picked out by the oba-san BECAUSE I was the only foreigner on that train, and she thinks we need to be kept at bay. It can be ridiculous sometimes. No?

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Wow, it's good to keep both hands up holding the rings, nothing worse could happen than a false accusation...end up in prison for bloody nothing. Japanese girls have turned very very bad...will get out of this country pretty soon, and for good...too dangerous. I'd rather deal with hells angels gang all alone than with one of these evil Japanese girls. It is rare thou, but still makes me sick to my stomach to read what happened to above mentioned innocent guy who spent his life savings to prove his innocence...

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I'm always bein' falsely accused of gropin' women on trains.

There oughtta be a law.

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Once you get arrested for something like groping, its just best to say your guilty, it becomes remorse legal tech.

There was an English teacher accused of groping a school girl on a train, he was detained in jail for over three years. Finally, the girl said he didn't grope her butt. You have to be careful of school girls, those chicks can get you in a lot of trouble.

Funny thing, I seen some older foreign guy today walking with his arm around a school girl in her uniform, I was like this guy must be a total idiot. A school girl can become moody at any moment, possibly sending him to jail for a long time, and foreigners always get the highest penalties.

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