60-year sentence for serial rapes in Shizuoka possibly a Japan first

Shukan Jitsuwa Dec. 22
Shukan Jitsuwa Dec. 22
On November 30, a most unusual prison sentence of 60 years was handed down by the Numazu branch of the Shizuoka District Court to Takashi Ozawa, who raped and assaulted nine women in Mishima City and other areas over a period of nine years.

Weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (Dec. 22) sets about determining why such a length was decided for Ozawa, 35, considering a revised law from 2004 limits imprisonment for rape to a maximum of 30 years.

“Prior to the current court case (November), he had been found guilty of theft, in March 2009,” says a reporter specializing in legal affairs. “The timing of that case was such that it created a separation within the time period of the rape crimes. Therefore, he couldn’t be tried as one case.”

Specifically, five cases occurred between 2001 and the date of his conviction for theft; four others cases took place after. The court broke the crimes into two groups and issued a sentence of 60 years in total.

“The defendant has abnormal sexual habits and a personality that is a high risk for recurrence,” prosecutors said. “He will require a substantial period of rehabilitation.”

Attorneys for the defendant commented, “We are astonished to see a penalty of this magnitude.”

“I have never heard of combining two 30-year sentences to make 60,” says Tadashi Makino, a former prosecutor and now an attorney. “Perhaps this is the first of its kind. However, charging 30 years for a set of five incidents and a set of four is understandable.”

In actuality, he was sentenced to 24 years and 26 years for the two groups of cases, respectively, on December 5.

Makino adds that such consecutive sentences is worse than life imprisonment. “If he were imprisoned indefinitely, he would possibly be able to get out after serving just 30 years,” the former lawyer says. “In being imprisoned separately, it is much more severe compared to an indefinite term.”

“I feel great remorse for damaging women’s lives,” Ozawa said in his final statement. Shukan Jitsuwa, however, thinks he is more remorseful about not confessing to rape when he got caught for theft. (K.N.)

Source: “Shizuoka chisai mukichoeki yori kitsui!? renzoku reipu han ni choeki 60 nen wo kyukei!” Shukan Jitsuwa (Dec. 22)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.

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